TAMPA — Tampa International Airport plays host Thursday morning to a summit of transportation planners and public policy leaders seeking greater cooperation in plotting links to communities throughout the region.
Think St. Petersburg to Orlando, Sarasota to Pasco County.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe helped spearhead the effort as a way to induce dialogue between decisionmakers on how to use transportation to solidify a potentially powerful economic superregion.
"This is really a first step toward all of us working together," Sharpe said. "If we coordinate and unify and work together, we have the ability to be a very strong region."
The Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Summit starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Tampa Airport Marriott and is scheduled to run until noon. It is open to the public, though attendees should have registered by now. About 170 people have already done so, with meeting room capacity for about 200.
Participants will include representatives of the group planning to build a private passenger rail line between Orlando and Miami, as well from SunRail, the commuter rail line planned for metropolitan Orlando. There will be a bevy of transportation and transit planners from throughout the region and Tampa International's CEO, Joe Lopano.
U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, will make a video address at the event, which is sponsored by the Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco county metropolitan planning organizations.