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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Baseball and rail: Or Tampa Bay meet Milwaukee



Sure, Major League Baseball has been on a building spree, almost always at taxpayer expense. But often lost in the debate over public-financing of stadiums is the phenomenon of pairing rail---subways, light-rail or commuter rail--with new stadiums.

Since 2000, 14 of the league's 30 teams have built new stadiums. A lot of them have integrated rail into their designs. It's been a success in Houston, Denver and San Francisco and Washington, D.C, aside from the traditional spots where strap-hanging baseball fans signing beery songs on the way back from Yankee, Mets, Cubs or White Sox games.

The Tampa Bay Rays supported Green Light Pinellas, the doomed mass transit plan that included light rail and was soundly clobbered at the polls last year.

Tampa Bay still doesn't have rail, a fact oddly overlooked in this study from 2014. Could the author have confused those theoretical gondolas with a functioning rail system? 

That boo-boo aside, the chart is a fascinating look at how many cities, including Sun-Belt baseball towns, like Phoenix, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth have planned their rail options with baseball stadiums.

Only Milwaukee and Tampa Bay don't have a rail option to their games, according to the study.

Will it happen here? One of the many questions to ponder as the glacial relations between the Rays and the St. Petersburg City Council begin to thaw.  

[Last modified: Friday, October 23, 2015 4:55pm]


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