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2122527 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2013-05-23 00:59:31.0 UTC 2013-05-22T20:59:31.000-04:00 elected-leaders-agree-transportation-fixes-are-a-priority published 2013-05-23 02:28:42.0 UTC 2013-05-22T22:28:42.000-04:00 news/politics DTI 107324455 TAMPA — This is not supposed to be possible. But Hillsborough County commissioners sat down with leaders from the county's three cities and its transit agency Wednesday and managed to reach congenial consensus on a broad public policy matter. Commissioners met with the county's three mayors and chairman of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit for what at first was billed as a transportation summit but what likely will be the first of several meetings of elected leaders. Their task is to identify what the county's transportation priorities should be and, eventually, how to pursue them given that local governments have little spare money. "You have a whole new attitude," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "You have everyone singing from the same song sheet. "I think we are ready to have a candid conversation about transportation." The County Commission has a yearslong reputation for fractious relations with city leaders, particularly those from Tampa. The divisiveness has been driven in part by commissioners who represent suburban residents, some of whom resent their tax money flowing to public projects in Tampa instead of improvements to their own roads and parks. The division played out three years ago, when county voters soundly rejected a referendum that sought their support of a penny sales tax hike to pay for transportation projects. The centerpiece was a new commuter rail system that many county residents thought would only benefit city dwellers. At Wednesday's meeting, participants generally agreed that there is a need for an investment in the county's transportation system. They also accepted a premise, driven by the county, that the ultimate priority list should get shaped by projects that promote economic development around the county but in targeted areas where growth is desirable. While there were no votes, the participants also agreed to begin discussing where to focus future investments and that, after that, what sorts of transportation projects should be pursued. Once that work is done, they'll start talking about how to pay for them. Commissioner Mark Sharpe, who has previously said he'd like to see another referendum put to voters in 2014, said he heard a note of urgency from others on the panel, which he welcomes. But at the same time, the discussion should be deliberative, as other participants such as Commission Chairman Ken Hagan emphasized. "There's no mystery that I want to get it done," said Sharpe, who leaves the commission in 2014 due to term limits, describing what he took from Wednesday's discussion. "But rather than starting with a conversation about how we're going to pay for it, let's determine what it is first." Bill Varian can be reached at varian@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3387. By Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer News, Politics, breaking-news, top-news, top-nav, hillsborough Elected leaders agree transportation fixes are a priority BVARIANN TAM Tampa & State dhvr5 dhvr5 In rare united front, transit talks gain steam Tampa, Hillsborough County 9 transit052313.2st In rare united front, transit talks gain steam 2013-05-23 04:00:00.0 UTC 2013-05-23T00:00:00.000-04:00 false templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2013/05/22/107324455-elected-leaders-agree-transportation-fixes-are-a-priority StaffArticle news,politicsPoliticsTAMPA — This is not supposed to be possible.News, Politics, breaking-news, top-news, top-nav, hillsboroughNews, Politics, breaking-news, top-news, top-nav, hillsboroughBill Varian 380325 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:42:17.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:42:17.000-04:00 bill-varian published Bill Varian <p>Bill Varian became the Tampa night city editor for the <i>Tampa Bay Times</i> in early 2014 after writing about Hillsborough County government and politics for 13 years. He joined the <i>Times</i> in 1999 as a crime reporter in Citrus County after five years of writing about growth-related issues and city hall for the <i>Tallahassee Democrat</i>. A 1990 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., he also has worked at newspapers in Augusta, Ga., and Burlington, N.C. Between school and his first news gig, he had a bartending job that required him to dress like a monk. He lives in Tampa.</p> Times Staff Writer writers DTI 33746461 Bill Varian became the Tampa night city editor for the Tampa Bay Times in early 2014 after writing about Hillsborough County government and politics for 13 years. He joined the Times in 1999 as a crime reporter in Citrus County after five years of writing about growth-related issues and city hall for the Tallahassee Democrat. A 1990 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., he also has worked at newspapers in Augusta, Ga., and Burlington, N.C. Between school and his first news gig, he had a bartending job that required him to dress like a monk. He lives in Tampa. <p>Phone: (813) 226-3387</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:varian@tampabay.com ">varian@tampabay.com</a></p><p>Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/VarianTimes">@VarianTimes</a></p> 1 /resources/images/dti/2012/10/Varian_Bill_wp.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33746461-bill-varian AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:42:17.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:42:17.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">BILL VARIAN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2269480 2016-03-16 00:15:11.0 UTC 5 Months Ago municipal-election-results news/politics/elections Pinellas County voters re-elect some city leaders, oust others StaffArticle 2263324 2016-01-29 16:09:53.0 UTC 7 Months Ago senate-and-house-spending-plans-clash-with-gov-rick-scotts-priorities news/politics/stateroundup Senate and House spending plans clash with Gov. Rick Scott's priorities StaffArticle 2261404 2016-01-14 23:53:49.0 UTC 7 Months Ago florida-lawmakers-pass-top-priority-water-special-needs-bills news/politics/stateroundup Florida lawmakers pass top-priority water, special-needs bills StaffArticle <p>TAMPA — This is not supposed to be possible.</p> <p>But Hillsborough County commissioners sat down with leaders from the county's three cities and its transit agency Wednesday and managed to reach congenial consensus on a broad public policy matter.</p> <p>Commissioners met with the county's three mayors and chairman of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit for what at first was billed as a transportation summit but what likely will be the first of several meetings of elected leaders. Their task is to identify what the county's transportation priorities should be and, eventually, how to pursue them given that local governments have little spare money.</p> <p>&quot;You have a whole new attitude,&quot; said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. &quot;You have everyone singing from the same song sheet. </p> <p>&quot;I think we are ready to have a candid conversation about transportation.&quot;</p> <p>The County Commission has a yearslong reputation for fractious relations with city leaders, particularly those from Tampa. The divisiveness has been driven in part by commissioners who represent suburban residents, some of whom resent their tax money flowing to public projects in Tampa instead of improvements to their own roads and parks. </p> <p>The division played out three years ago, when county voters soundly rejected a referendum that sought their support of a penny sales tax hike to pay for transportation projects. The centerpiece was a new commuter rail system that many county residents thought would only benefit city dwellers.</p> <p>At Wednesday's meeting, participants generally agreed that there is a need for an investment in the county's transportation system. They also accepted a premise, driven by the county, that the ultimate priority list should get shaped by projects that promote economic development around the county but in targeted areas where growth is desirable.</p> <p>While there were no votes, the participants also agreed to begin discussing where to focus future investments and that, after that, what sorts of transportation projects should be pursued. Once that work is done, they'll start talking about how to pay for them.</p> <p>Commissioner Mark Sharpe, who has previously said he'd like to see another referendum put to voters in 2014, said he heard a note of urgency from others on the panel, which he welcomes. But at the same time, the discussion should be deliberative, as other participants such as Commission Chairman Ken Hagan emphasized.</p> <p>&quot;There's no mystery that I want to get it done,&quot; said Sharpe, who leaves the commission in 2014 due to term limits, describing what he took from Wednesday's discussion. &quot;But rather than starting with a conversation about how we're going to pay for it, let's determine what <i>it</i> is first.&quot;</p> <p><i>Bill Varian can be reached at varian@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3387.</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:32:55