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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Forward Pinellas announces new leaders for 2017



The Pinellas County board responsible for addressing transportation issues will have new leaders in 2017.

Forward Pinellas, the transportation and land use planning agency, announced that Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni will lead the 13-member panel in 2017.

Other additions include Clearwater City Commissioner Doreen Caudell as vice chair; Indian Rocks Beach City Commissioner Cookie Kennedy as treasurer; and Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers as secretary.

The 13-member board unanimously approved the appointments. The 13 officials represent municipal governments, the Pinellas County Commission and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

Morroni, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, has been a county commissioner for 16 years. Transportation solutions are a priority to him and Janet Long, the 2017 chair of the Pinellas County Commission.

"I am looking forward to chairing the Forward Pinellas Board next year," Morroni said in a statement. "We will continue to work with our partners in the Tampa Bay region toward that end. The safety of our residents when it comes to both driving and cycling is of utmost importance to me."

Morroni will take over as Long pushes a plan to consolidate the area alphabet soup of transportation agencies. Long,a Democrat, has lobbied state and local officials on both sides of the bay. So far, some Republican leaders have praised the plan.

Long is working on the plan with Whit Blanton, executive director of Forward Pinellas, and St. Petersburg City Council member Jim Kennedy.

Blanton thanked the outgoing board members and pledged to continue efforts to improve the region's transportation woes.

"We've had a great deal of cohesion and leadership among the board members and executive committee over the last 18 months," Blanton said in a statement. "I welcome the new members to our board and look forward to working closely with our new chairman on what will be a critical year for countywide and regional transportation decisions."

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 1:39pm]


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