Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Counties Talk over Planning; Transportation Board May Undergo Changes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Counties Talk over Planning; Transportation Board May Undergo Changes

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon, Shorelines staff writer

*******************CORRECTION July 19, 2003

A meeting on area transportation needs between Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, St. Johns County Commissioner Bruce Maguire and Clay County Commissioner Patrick McGovern was June 10. Because of an editor's error, the date was wrong in a Page 1 Shorelines story Wednesday.

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After meeting with Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton last week, St. Johns County Commissioner Bruce Maguire came away confident that the Ponte Vedra Beach area's transportation needs will eventually be better served by the First Coast Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Maguire and Clay County Commissioner Patrick McGovern met with Peyton for about an hour Thursday to discuss the possibility of changing the makeup of the board, which oversees transportation issues in the area.

"He was receptive," Maguire said. "The mayor absolutely agreed that transportation at the state and federal funding level is a regional issue. Transportation issues don't change at county lines."

Peyton could not be reached for comment.

Maguire, who represents Ponte Vedra Beach and Palm Valley, wants to keep the First Coast MPO intact as a regional board that prioritizes state and federal transportation spending for all of Duval County and northern St. Johns and Clay counties.

But St. Augustine, after the 2000 census, has a population large enough to form its own MPO under state guidelines. St. Augustine officials have indicated they'd like to add northern St. Johns County to their organization when it's formed. If northern St. Johns fell out of the First Coast MPO, it would break away from many of the transportation priorities linked to Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach.

Maguire doesn't want that, but he does want to change the makeup of the First Coast MPO's 10-member board. Eight members are from Duval County, one is from St. Johns County and the other is from Clay County.

"If we can put together a regional organization that everybody agrees with, the implication was that he [Peyton] was more than willing to do that," Maguire said. …

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