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transportation

Daylina Miller/WUSF

After three years of meetings, workshops and public hearings, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Thursday night struck down a referendum on the November ballot that would have allowed the public to vote for a half cent sales tax for transportation.

People board a HART bus.
HART

When Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) officials look into the future, they see riders tapping preloaded smart cards as they get on the bus.

National Study Criticizes Tampa Bay Toll Lanes Plan

Jan 19, 2016
Florida Department of Transportation

Advocates fighting against adding toll lanes to Tampa Bay area interstates shared a new study Tuesday morning calling the project a "boondoggle" for taxpayers.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Commuters between Tampa and St. Petersburg might soon have a new way to cross Tampa Bay that does not involve a bridge.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman are discussing how to pay for a ferry that would connect the two cities by water.

Kriseman said it'll take $350,000 from each city and their two counties, Pinellas and Hillsborough, to get things started.  A trial ferry could begin operating this coming October.

  Federal authorities are endorsing the construction of a spur that would connect central Florida's commuter rail, SunRail, with the Orlando International Airport.

Group Moves Forward with Sales Tax Increase Plan

Jul 17, 2015
People board a HART bus.
HART

Three mayors from Hillsborough County cities are joining forces with several county commissioners and the chairman of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) to discuss a possible sales tax increase. Part of a plan called the GO Hillsborough initiative would increase the county sales tax by a half cent, with a majority of that money going towards road maintenance and improvements. 

Gov. Scott Seeks to Drive Road, Seaport, Airport Upgrades During Campaign

Aug 18, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott is hyping a plan to reinforce the state's roads, ports and airports as he campaigns across Florida this week.

The proposal, which also pushes safety enhancements for bicyclists while highlighting spending on transit since Scott has been in office, is the latest part of the governor's re-election platform.

"I am committed to keeping Florida moving by creating strategic investment opportunities to expand our state's transportation system," Scott, who appeared Monday in Jacksonville, said in a prepared statement.

The Latest on Florida's Unemployment Numbers

Aug 15, 2014
wikipedia.org

July unemployment rates were released today. The unemployment rates in Florida from June to July were unchanged at 6.2 percent, but, Tampa Bay's unemployment rate rose from 6.3 percent to 6.8 percent, losing 7,000 jobs over the month.

The unemployment rate for the US in July is also at 6.2 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate has been less than or equal to the national rate for 14 of the last 15 months.

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.

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."

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn staged his 2014 “State of the City” address inside the old Tampa Armature Works building on the east banks of the Hillsborough River. The one-story brick structure is where they used to store the trolleys that once connected Tampa’s neighborhoods to downtown.

The significance of the old trolley building was not lost on the 500 people watching as Buckhorn used his “bully pulpit” to call for a funding referendum to support expanded bus service and light rail in Tampa.

On Thursday night, Connect Tampa Bay rolled out its vision of what a new transportation system should look like and how to pay for it, details that county commissioners and the county’s three mayors are still discussing. The group’s plan, called “Go Hillsborough,” advocates a 1 cent sales tax increase that would raise $204 million annually in today’s dollars. Connect Tampa Bay advocates putting one third of the money for road maintenance and improvements and another third to finance construction of a light rail system connecting the Westshore business district and downtown with the University of South Florida. Part of the road money would be spent on dedicated lanes for bus rapid transit.

Miami-Orlando By Train For Under $100

Aug 23, 2013

It will be the first time a private company will offer intercity passenger rail service without public funds. It is to use 32 trains offering three-hour trips between Miami and Orlando, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The trains will run on tracks laid by Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway company and not used for passenger service since 1968. They'll call into Flagler's former Miami center, a nine-acre site.

Transit Talk: First Public Forum

Aug 7, 2013
HART / HART

Hillsborough County hosted its first in a series of public forums yesterday discussing mass transportation in an effort to gauge residents' perspectives.

A group of city and county leaders - including three mayors, the chief of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), and a number of county commissioners - are meeting monthly to discuss the where's, what's, and how to pay for transportation improvements that will stimulate job growth in the area.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A new study drives the point home: When it comes to operating motor vehicles, Tampa ranks fourth worst out of 39 cities, according to Slate.

The rankings take into account four factors: the America's Worst Drivers Report by AllState Insurance Company, automobile fatality data from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol-related driving deaths and pedestrian strikes. Traffic tickets were not part of the equation because, Slate said, they "have more to do with policing than with the real rate of infractions."

People board a HART bus.
HART

Hillsborough County is following Pinellas' lead. Commissioners have agreed today to restart the conversation on transportation.

The Tampa Bay area is number one. Forbes ranks it the worst city for commuters especially because of our lack of mass transit.

PSTA Board Agrees to Ask for One-Cent Tax Referendum

Jan 23, 2013
PSTA

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority unanimously agreed to ask the Pinellas County Commission to put a tax for bus transit expansion and light rail on the ballot. 

The vote came after 3 hours of public comment with speakers for and against the idea.

Five out of 7 commissioners say they support the referendum but PSTA spokesman Bob Lasher says this is only the beginning.

"Some of our board members said this is just the very first step, there's a whole lot of water yet to go before we cross the other bridges," he says.

HART / HART

Merging Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties’ public transit systems does not make financial sense.

That's the initial report from a consulting firm hired by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. The findings were discussed Monday in a meeting that included board members from both groups, according to this article in the Tampa Tribune.

Here’s the financial breakdown:

HART

October was a record-setting month for public transit in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, according to figures released Friday. Continuing a trend a increased annual ridership, both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority gave the highest number of monthly rides in their respective 33- and 28-year histories:

  • HART: 1,344,854 rides (up 11 percent from October 2011)
  • PSTA: 1,287,301 rides (up 14 percent from October 2011)

seefloridago.org

A majority of voters along Florida's I-4 corridor disagreed with Gov. Rick Scott's decision to cancel plans for a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. That's according to a new poll conducted by the Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9 and Central Florida 13.

The media outlets surveyed voters by phone last week, revealing the following:

Bus Ridership Up Across Tampa Bay

Aug 8, 2012

HART Bus ridership went up almost 6 percent last month compared to July last year and they had almost 61 thousand more bus trips this July than July 2011.

Its counterpart in Pinellas, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) , set a record. They had a 14 percent increase in ridership this past July and the highest ridership than the same month in any other year since the agency's existence.

HART spokeswoman Marcia Mejia said this increase in ridership has been going on for awhile.

Extra Bus, Streetcar Service During RNC

Aug 8, 2012

HART is going to operate extra bus services for folks between Ybor City and Channelside during the Republican National Convention.

Route 8 (Downtown to Progress Village/ Brandon):

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