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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Transportation looms large as Hillsborough commissioners sworn in



TAMPA -- If you thought transportation was going away as Hillsborough County’s top issue, think again.

Recently elected county commissioners were sworn in Tuesday during an investiture ceremony. As the new board was seated, each commissioner highlighted their agenda for the coming year, and there was a persistent nod to the continuing need to address the county’s gridlock and crumbling roads.

"I really want to finish the job with transportation,” Commissioner Sandy Murman said. “We cannot take our eye off the ball."

In her first remarks from the dais, newly elected Commissioner Pat Kemp said she was encouraged by her two kids to continue to fight for transit in Hillsborough County and would take up that mantle on the board.

Kemp, a Democrat who was sworn into office by former boss and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, also said she will fight for “good-paying jobs,” particularly in the renewable energy sector, during her four-year term in office.

Commissioners voted earlier this year to spend $600 million on transportation improvements -- mostly roadwork -- over the next decade from the existing county budget.

Clearly, few on the commission thinks that is enough to address the county’s transportation backlog and they will be back at it again in 2017.

“Unemployment is down, tourism is thriving, people are moving here in droves,” Commissioner Ken Hagan said. “But at the same time we have many challenges that face us.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 10:51am]


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