With the area’s growth out pacing local and state governments’ capability to provide needed transportation improvements, and acknowledging growth’s impacts to water bodies and natural areas, a diverse, 13-member Economic and Environmental Consensus Committee (EECC) convened in 1999 to identify ways the community could continue to grow, remain economically healthy and maintain and improve our environmental conditions. The EECC prepared a detailed report defining a holistic planning process which integrated multi-modal transportation, retrofit water quality, sector planning, and recreational/green space improvements into a single project. In November 2000, Leon County voters extended the existing sales tax an additional 15 years, and the Blueprint 2000 Intergovernmental Agency was formed and charged with implementing the list of approved projects. The Agency began hiring staff in April 2002, sold Bonds in March 2003, and provided funding to the Florida Department of Transportation in April 2003 to begin right-of way acquisition for the Agency’s first project, even though the tax collection did not begin until December 2004. The Agency will implement projects totaling over $500 million through 2019.
The Case Study describes the make-up of the Economic and Environmental Committee, review the Challenges, Initiatives, and Recommendations proposed in the Blueprint 2000 and Beyond document, and detail the mix of projects to be funded from the sales tax. The Program has been so successful, that several other governments from Gainesville to Charleston have met with Agency staff to see how a similar program may be developed for their areas.