TBARTA gaining muscle on rail
The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority and Pinellas transit officials agreed Friday morning to take the first steps toward giving TBARTA more authority, specifically over running a rail system in the region.
Ultimately, it could mean TBARTA manages fares and train system across its region, a maybe buses. The first place could be Pinellas. TBARTA and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority officials agreed to start meeting to discuss whether to hammer out an agreement.
Officials in Pinellas acknowledged they have to be careful to make sure various cities buy in, such as initially keeping PSTA overseeing buses, because Pinellas residents pay property taxes for transit services. But the ultimate potential result is pretty clear to Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel, a TBARTA member and chair of a Pinellas task force studying whether to recommend a referendum to pay for rail.
"I would like to see a time hopefully that all transit and rail authority would lie with TBARTA," Seel said.
TBARTA's charter from the state allows it to operate trains.