Transportation

HART Launches Financial Transparency Center

Dec 2, 2014
HART

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority is launching an online accountability center letting tax payers in on how HART does business. 

People can see:

The Florida Department of Transportation is the latest state agency to lose its leader, after Governor Rick Scott secured his re-election.

Ananth Prasad has overseen one of Florida’s largest agencies, the Department of Transportation. He’s served as that agency's secretary since Scott was first elected in 2011 and becomes the fourth agency chief to step down since Scott was re-elected. His departure follows turnover at the Florida Department of Children and Families, Corrections, and Environmental Protection.

Three years ago a blistering assessment by a national advocacy group prompted the Florida Department of Transportation to get serious about making the state’s roadways safer for pedestrians and cyclists. After four Florida metropolitan areas were ranked as the most dangerous for pedestrians, FDOT leaders began to consider making design changes such as building narrower lanes.

Proponents of narrower lanes argue that wide, open lanes encourage motorists to hit the gas and endanger pedestrians, while narrow lanes force motorists to slow down.

It's not clear when Tampa's Kennedy Boulevard Bridge might reopen to traffic. A crane atop a barge slammed into the bridge this morning and now the road is closed.

Robin Sussingham

Greenlight Pinellas is not the only mass transportation referendum coming up in the next election.  Polk County is also having its own vote on public transportation -- and it’s own raging debate. The so-called My Ride, My Roads plan will push the sales tax to 8 percent, raising money for road maintenance and greatly expanded bus service in Polk.

FDOT

Do we hear voices raised in songs of thanksgiving? Early this morning, the Florida Department of Transportation reopened the railroad tracks at Fowler Avenue in North Tampa, just east of Nebraska Avenue. 

Kris Carson of the Florida Department of Transportation Tampa office says the annual average daily traffic count is around 48,500, so Fowler is a heavily traveled road.  

Happy Trails!

FDOT

For the next week, your usual commute down Fowler Avenue, just east of Interstate 275 will be detoured.  

Take a look at this map. Florida Department of Transportation says drivers will not be able to pass through the intersection where the railroad crosses Fowler, east of Nebraska Avenue.

The work on the tracks begins October 16th at 9 p.m. The construction continues until complete "weather permitting."  

Mayors Show Support for Pinellas, Polk Transit

Sep 25, 2014
Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

The Tampa Bay Partnership hosted a transportation forum Wednesday in St. Petersburg and the Greenlight Pinellas referendum received lots of attention.

The transportation forum included commissioners from Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk Counties, and representatives from the region's transportation authorities.

Both sides on November's mass transit referendum to replace property taxes with a sales tax hike in Pinellas County are gearing up their campaigns for an against Greenlight Pinellas. We recently talked to Randal O'Toole of the libertarian Cato Institute, who claimed light rail doesn't work.

Hillsborough Commission Talks Uber, Lyft Ride-Sharing

Sep 10, 2014
Lyft

The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission heard lots of public comment from taxi drivers and ride-sharing service supporters alike at a hearing Wednesday.

The Public Transportation Commission (PTC) regulates vehicles for-hire like taxis and limousines. Ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft have been fined for improper insurance coverage and licensing. 

Both sides on November's referendum to replace property taxes with a sales tax hike in Pinellas County are gearing up their campaigns. The opposition has brought in a big-name consultant, who will take part in a debate Tuesday night in St. Petersburg. WUSF's Steve Newborn spoke to Randal O'Toole about why he rails against light rail.

A single-engine aircraft, with an unresponsive pilot at the controls, crashed off the coast of Jamaica on Friday afternoon.

The private U.S. plane, a high-performance single-engine turboprop, left the Greater Rochester International Airport in Rochester, N.Y., at 8:45 a.m. EDT, reports The Associated Press. It was headed for Naples, Fla. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot at 10 a.m. EDT, according to the FAA.

Passenger Rail Foes Meet with DOT, Gov. Scott's Office

Aug 31, 2014
oregonlive.com

The next stop for a group of wealthy opponents of a proposed Miami-to-Orlando passenger rail service is a meeting with officials behind the private venture.

The Coral Gables-based All Aboard Florida announced Thursday it would meet in a few weeks with the relatively new residential group from Jupiter and Martin County.

The new steel rails mark the first physical work on the future service since the ambitious project was announced in March 2012. All Aboard Florida, as the project is called, is expected to begin operations in two phases: first between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2016 and then between West Palm Beach and Orlando in 2017. Once in service, the train will travel the 235 mile route between Miami and Orlando – with stops at Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach — at an average speed of 78.3 mph. The maximum speed will be 125 mph.

Hillsborough County might be on its way to having another major referendum on public transportation - in 2016.

A board made up of county commissioners and the county's three mayors unanimously agreed to move forward on a plan that would increase the size of the county's bus system, repave roads - and create the county's first light rail line.

A similar referendum was defeated at the polls in 2010, during the height of the recession.

Hillsborough County Adminstrator Mike Merrill said officials have a chance this time to change that outcome.

Tampa's Coast Bike Share Program Gears Up

Jul 7, 2014
CycleHop / http://cyclehop.com/about/

There will be soon a fun and affordable way to breeze around the bay. Coast Bike Share is a program that will give riders a 24/7 transportation option to commute, visit friends or just have fun.

"Users can reserve a bike by walking up to one of the 30 bike hubs, going to the website or downloading the smart phone app Social Bicycles," said Coast Bike Share program director Erick Trull.

AAA and Bud Light are offering their free Tow to Go program this Fourth of July weekend to keep drunk drivers away from the steering wheel.  AAA encourages all motorists who plan on drinking to secure a designated driver, but spokesman Matt Nasworthy knows that not all drivers will take this advice.

"Some folks end up out there needing a safety net, meaning they didn't have a plan," he said, "and that would be where Tow to Go would come in handy. They can call us and we'll come out and tow them and their vehicle home, free of charge."

Lottie Watts / WUSF Public Media

Four Tampa Bay area mayors met for a public forum to show their unified support for the Greenlight Pinellas campaign. In November, Pinellas County voters will be asked to raise their sales tax to pay for more buses and a light rail system.

But the "public" forum didn’t quite live up to its billing, because the mayors did not take questions from the audience nor did they go into detail about the referendum.

Gas Prices Uncertain for 4th of July Travelers

Jun 23, 2014

According to AAA, more people hit the road for the Fourth of July than Memorial Day. But with tensions building in Iraq, a possible increase in gas taxes, and hurricane season underway, it seems the only predictable thing about gas prices is their uncertainty.

Last week, a $.05 increase in the average price per gallon in Florida made trips to the pump even more painful. The rapidly climbing price was put to a stop over the weekend, but AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said we can't be sure of much.

bizjournals.com

For only the second time in its history, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority has a new person at its helm. The TBARTA Board of Directors unanimously selected Don Skelton as interim Executive Director.

Skelton will replace Bob Clifford, who has served as the board's sole executive director since it was formed by the Florida Legislature in 2007. Clifford resigned to join the engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff.

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