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For immediate release - May 27, 2010

Florida Bicycle Association, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Awards Presented to Two Lake County Law Enforcement Officers

LEESBURG – At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Governing Board of the Lake~Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) George Martin, Bicycle Law Training Program Director, Florida Bicycle Association, presented awards to Deputy Gabriel White and Sergeant Thomas McKane. The awards were given for their efforts in assisting the Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) in developing the Bicycle Law Enforcement Program. Deputy Gabriel White and Sergeant Thomas McKane are part of the Officer Advisory Panel consists of officers around Florida that are providing advice and assistance to insure the meets the needs of the law enforcement community. Their involvement is critical to the success of the program and is very much appreciated. The FBA promotes a statewide education campaign for law enforcement professionals focused on bicycling traffic law offenders as it relates to injuries and fatalities. This program is an ongoing commitment to educate law enforcement officers and help them be a positive force in crash and injury reduction. For more information about the Florida Bicycle Association or the Bicycle Law Training Program please visit the FBA website at: www.floridabicycle.org.

The MPO Governing Board approved the Draft FY 2010/11 - 2014/15 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) with opening of 30-day public review period. The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a document MPOs are required to develop annually. The TIP represents the transportation improvements that have been programmed for the following five year period .The Lake~Sumter MPO adopts its TIP annually.
The draft TIP maybe reviewed at the MPO website: www.LakeSumterMPO.com The MPO encourages all interested individuals and groups to review and comment on the draft document, public participation is a very important role in the development of the annual TIP.

Susan Sadighi, FDOT District 5, Intermodal Systems Development Manager presented the 2060 Florida Transportation Plan (2060 FTP). The 2060 FTP provides a vision for the future of transportation over the next 50 years. The 2060 FTP identifies the goals, objectives, and strategies to address the long-term needs of the state transportation system and to guide the expenditure of federal, state, and local transportation funds. The 2060 FTP is a policy document not a plan with future roads, maps and projects. The FDOT is asking all interested individuals and parties to visit the website at www.2060ftp.org.

The Governing Board of the MPO took action to convey to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) the importance of funding the required Alternative Analysis (feasibility study) to enable federal funding for passenger rail service (Orange Blossom Express) along the Florida Central Railroad Corridor. The MPO requests that the necessary Alternatives Analysis be funded and managed by FDOT in FY 2010/11.
With SunRail to begin service in three years and High Speed Rail to commence service in 2015, the MPO is anxious to see this planning phase move forward during FY 2010/11. The timing is critical in order for this project not to languish while other regional passenger rail initiatives move forward.

The Wekiva Parkway project is awaiting on the required final public hearing. The study team is coordinating with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to obtain the appropriate approvals to move forward with the recommended Preferred Alternative alignment. Once approved by FHWA, the Expressway Authority can move forward with the final public hearings in each of the impacted counties. Funding options and opportunities for the parkway is ongoing throughout the current PD&E process and will continue as the project moves into the final design phases. Questions or comments about these projects should be directed to:

Brian Hutchings, Public Information Officer - 407-383-5817 or email at construction@oocea.com
Or visit the Wekiva Parkway page on the Expressway Authority website.

Mr. Fish shared information regarding the development of Transportation 2035 (Long Range Transportation Plan) and added the second major public involvement event is scheduled for June 10, at 2 to 4:30 pm at the Leesburg Opera House, 108 S. Fifth Street, in downtown Leesburg. The MPO is responsible for regional transportation planning in the urbanized areas of Lake and Sumter Counties, and is in the development phase of its 20-year Long Range Transportation Plan (Transportation 2035). The Transportation 2035 identifies transportation improvements necessary to maintain adequate mobility and to accommodate the growth that is forecasted through 2035. These improvements are established through a comprehensive identification of highway, public transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and goods movement transportation needs and policies from the two counties and 19 municipalities within our region. The public is welcome to attend the June 10th meeting.

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Media contact:
Communications Department
Public Information Officer
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445
klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov