Ralph Massullo seeks millions for Citrus, Hernando projects

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Topping the requests is a $20.7 million ask to upgrade North Turkey Oak Drive as a bypass around Crystal River.

Rep. Ralph Massullo is seeking nearly $80 million in funding for projects in Citrus and Hernando counties with a focus on transportation and water quality.

Massullo, a Lecanto Republican representing House District 34, outlined his $79.4 million request through 20 individual appropriation bills filed Thursday.

Topping the requests is a $20.7 million ask to upgrade North Turkey Oak Drive as a bypass around Crystal River. Turkey Oak connects State Road 44 on the eastern edge of the city to U.S.19 on the northern edge.

City officials fear traffic from the Suncoast Parkway, which is expected to open in January at S.R. 44 about three miles east of Crystal River, will inundate their town.

“The upgrade of Turkey Oak will create an opportunity to route more thru traffic efficiently around the city,” the project request form states.

The Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, is studying likely traffic impacts from the parkway in Citrus County.

Other Massullo budget requests include:

— $12.5 million for construction of a corporate education facility at Pasco-Hernando State College.

— $9.2 million for the first phase of a multi-use path on Fort Island Trail between U.S. 19 and Fort Island Gulf Beach. This section would connect to the Three Sisters Springs Path in Crystal River.

— $7.1 million for a 640-foot runway extension at Crystal River Airport.

— $4.2 million for a Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes restoration, which would reduce floating tussocks and remove bottom sediment on the largest freshwater system in Citrus County.

— $4 million each for the King’s Bay and Homosassa River restoration projects, which remove Lyngbya and plant eel grass.

— $2.9 million for the technology center at Brooksville Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

— $2.5 million to provide clean drinking water to low-income neighborhoods in north Inverness where wells were contaminated from historic summer rainfall.

— $2 million for a septic-to-sewer project in Homosassa that would remove 135 residents from septic tanks.

— $2 million for the final phase of the Kings Bay Riverwalk boardwalk project in Crystal River.

— $1.5 million for Lifestream Behavioral Services Inc. to operate a 20-bed Baker Act facility in Lecanto.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.



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