Manatee should go regional, state transportation official urges

MANATEE -- Florida Transportation Secretary Anath Prasad today told a local planning organization that the state is encouraging a distinctly regional approach, and will reward such efforts with better funding.

"Congestion doesn't stop at the county line," said Prasad, who heads the Florida Department of Transportation.

He was in town for an early-morning breakfast with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, and stopped by a meeting of the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization, comprised of local officials who oversee transportation planning.

"It's important we continue to look regionally," said Prasad at the meeting at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.

The state hopes to encourage such planning bodies to consolidate, and when they do and approach their tasks with a regional emphasis, there will be monetary incentives to help, Prasad said.

"There's a role for a very vibrant MPO process," the secretary told the board.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.