Story Tools

Date of Issue: January 12, 2006

DOT plans to pay for Key Royale Bridge in two years

bridge Pic
Royale flush
Construction of a new Key Royale Bridge should begin within the next few months and the Florida Department of Transportation has "tentatively" pledged $2.95 million in its 2007-08 budget to return to Holmes Beach, which is borrowing the money to get the project under way. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Holmes Beach residents and city officials can breathe a little easier about getting paid back for construction of the Key Royale Bridge, slated to begin within the next few months.

The Florida Department of Transportation announced its tentative five-year work program in late December and placed $2.95 million for construction of the bridge in its 2007-08 budget. But remember, that’s only tentative.

The city has agreed to borrow the funds for construction of the bridge now at 2005-06 prices in return for a contract with DOT for repayment in a future budget. If DOT follows through with its "tentative" program, the city will get its money back in two years and would only be liable for the two years’ interest on the construction loan.

But "tentative" means the money has not been formally approved in the DOT’s 2007-08 budget.

Mayor Carol Whitmore, however, said she had no problems with the "tentative" plan.

"We’re locked in for repayment in the 2007-08 budget. We have a contract with DOT," she said.

Still, based upon its past history of agreeing "tentatively" to fund a new Key Royale Bridge in a particular budget, then withdrawing that pledge, Whitmore had to agreed that "tentative" is not a 100-percent guarantee.

"I’m 99 percent positive we’ll get our money back that year," she responded.

The DOT has been promising to build a new Key Royale Bridge since 1995.

In other good news for Anna Maria Island, Bradenton Beach residents should be enjoying a DOT bonus starting in the 2006-07 budget cycle.

The DOT has "tentatively" placed $261,000 in its 2006-07 budget for enhancement of State Road 789 in Bradenton Beach along with $287,000 in the same budget for the city’s bicycle path.

The city also scored well in the 2006-07 "tentative" budget with $11,500 for S.R. 789 landscaping.

The entire Island will come in for $300,000 worth of landscaping of state roads in the same budget cycle if the DOT follows through with its proposed five-year plan.

In addition, the DOT said it would replace the traffic lights on state roads in Holmes Beach during the five-year plan.