Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough seeks to tie new roads and transit to job creation

TAMPA — Hillsborough County is looking at a new way of ranking its transportation needs.

County commissioners want to base priorities for road work and transit expansion based on how much the projects contribute to economic development and job creation, rather than what simply fixes the worst clogs.

More specifically, commissioners plan to give top ranking to road and other transportation projects that ease access to specific areas of the county where they want to try to direct economic investment by businesses. Those areas haven't been identified, though a task force has recommended commissioners concentrate on zones largely along interstates 4 and 75.

County Administrator Mike Merrill said that, historically, most governments have based transportation priorities largely on population projections and where roads are most congested. The new strategy would attempt to use transportation investment to attract businesses, particularly those that employ younger, high-tech workers.

"It's a different framework for how you want to rank transportation," Merrill said. "The idea is, let's take charge of what we really want in terms of population growth."

Commissioners have been talking for months about ways the county can promote economic development beyond offering financial incentives to businesses that open, relocate or expand here. They formed a task force largely of building industry representatives who recommended creating designated economic development areas where roads, storm drains and other infrastructure are installed to accommodate businesses.

But the idea of prioritizing transportation projects based on those zones was crystallized by commissioners for the first time during a workshop Tuesday. Commissioners asked Merrill to reach out to the mayors of Hillsborough's three cities and the heads of the main transit and transportation planning agencies. They want him to see if they're interested in participating in talks aimed at linking transportation plans to economic development.

"My sense is right now everyone's out there doing their own thing and I don't think that's a good thing," Merrill said.

The discussion comes as Commissioner Mark Sharpe is pushing for renewed talks about addressing the county's transportation needs with an eye toward a possible referendum on tax hikes to pay for them in 2014. While he said he applauds viewing transportation needs through an economic development lens, he expressed concern that this new concept will delay action on needs that have been identified through years of study.

"There's a point at which we need to start doing," he said.

Hillsborough seeks to tie new roads and transit to job creation 03/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102