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Transportation

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.

Teen Safe Driving Leadership Program

Jun 4, 2014

The No. 1 killer of teens in Florida - and the country - is car crashes.

The irony -  fatal crashes are the most preventable.

That's the goal of a Leadership Training Academy Thursday at  All Children's Hospital Education and Conference Center in St. Petersburg.

Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition is conducting  this Leadership Academy -- not just to teach teens how to drive safely -- but to create teen safe driving campaigns for their communities.

Danielle Branciforte is the leader of the Coalition.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) announced the U.S. Department of Transportation grant to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, the agency that would operate the ferry, which would also run to Gibsonton in southern Hillsborough. "Tampa Bay's long-term economic future will significantly benefit if we develop options for people to travel to work and home," Castor said. "Investing in our infrastructure is key to growing jobs in our community and remaining competitive." The overall price tag for the ferry is $17 million, so Monday's announcement means Hillsborough County would still have to chip in upwards of $12 million to get the service up and running. In February, county commissioners approved spending up to $125,000 to study the ferry's feasibility.

All Aboard Fla. Promises Hot Rail Revolution

Jun 2, 2014

All Aboard Florida executives and city officials believe the station complex, about 3 million square feet, will spur commercial development for miles in all directions as well as become an iconic city landmark like the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge or New York's Grand Central Station. Local officials offered glowing praise, especially since the privately financed station won't cost them a dime. "If we were to replicate this in the public sector," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, "it would cost us billions of dollars."

S. Dale Mabry/I-275 Exit Closes For Four Months

May 27, 2014
WUSF

The next four months will be a test of patience for regulars of one of the busiest I-275 exits. The Department of Transportation's closure of the southbound Dale Mabry exit is scheduled to take place tonight at 11:30 p.m. as part of the project to widen the interstate.

Cheryl Underwood, who travels from St. Petersburg to Tampa each day, expects her commute time to increase significantly.

"It will be quite congested," Underwood said. "My half hour ride home- half hour, one hour- will probably be more like two hours."

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