Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Advocates unveil ideas for better Tampa Bay area transit

TAMPA — The beauty of the name of Connect Tampa Bay's proposal, executive director Kevin Thurman explained, is its simplicity. That name? Go Hillsborough.

"Don't stop, don't go slow," Thurman said. "Just go."

Once you get past the name, though, it gets a little more complicated.

New rail transit (with 27 to 37 miles of tracks), advanced traffic signalization installed across the county, new bus toll lanes (which bypass intersections for buses and other drivers who pay tolls), lots of new biking/walking trails and ferry service were among the highlights of a proposal the transit advocacy group unveiled Thursday night.

Thurman and several other transit-minded people formed Connect Tampa Bay a year ago. The group's leadership took ideas from months of meetings with different community organizations across the county and a survey of Connect Tampa Bay's members to form the proposals they discussed with a crowd of about 30 people Thursday night at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Implementing Go Hillsborough would cost about $337 million per year, Thurman said. The county spends about $157 million per year on transportation now, from sources including property, sales and gas taxes. The additional money, Thurman said, would come from a new 1-cent sales tax, federal and state grants, and some private investment.

Thurman and the group's leaders stopped short of calling for a new county referendum on a sales tax hike to pay for their transportation ideas, but the necessity of a new tax is acknowledged in their plans.

Thurman and his fellow Connect Tampa Bay board members held Thursday's meeting to solicit feedback from other members, and to ask them to take the ideas to other community groups for input.

County commissioners have been meeting for about nine months with the mayors of Hillsborough's three cities and transportation agency heads to discuss needs. So far, they have coalesced only around prioritizing transportation projects that would spur job creation.

They have not started talking about specific projects, or whether to focus on rail, roads or other means of transport.

Thurman and other advocates have at times expressed frustration with the slow pace of those talks. Thursday's presentation appeared at least partly aimed at creating momentum for action.

Connect Tampa Bay members say they'd also like to see some of their ideas incorporated.

"This is the beginning of a conversation," said board member Brian Willis.

Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or

Advocates unveil ideas for better Tampa Bay area transit 01/30/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 30, 2014 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Graco recalls car seats; webbing may not hold child in crash

    Public Safety

    Graco Children's Products is recalling more than 25,000 car seats because the harness webbing can break in a crash and may not keep children restrained.

    Graco has recalled eight different car seat models.
  2. Pro Bowl returning to Orlando in 2018


    ORLANDO — The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

    Bucs  wide receiver Mike Evans runs a route as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. defends during the first quarter of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in January at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Plan your weekend: Memorial Day, Sunset Music Fest, comic Pablo Francisco, sci-fi writer Jeff VanderMeer


    Plan your weekend


    Memorial Day: Monday is the day to honor those who died serving their country, and the Bay Pines VA Memorial Day Ceremony will have Fox 13 anchor Alcides Segui as emcee, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and musical performances starting at 10 a.m. at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., St. …

    GULF SHORES, AL - MAY 20:  Diplo of Major Lazer performs at the Surf Stage during 2017 Hangout Music Festival on May 20, 2017 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Hangout Music Festival) 700050769
  4. For starters: Rays looking for runs and a win

    Erasmo Ramirez makes his third start of the season.
  5. United Airlines CEO to investors: We'll be more focused on customers


    CHICAGO — The CEO of United Airlines assured shareholders Wednesday that the company is doing all it can to be more customer-friendly since video surfaced of a passenger being violently ejected from a plane last month.

    Chicago Police arrest protesters after they sat down in a busy street blocking traffic outside a United Airlines shareholders meeting Wednesday, in downtown Chicago. The people who were arrested were protesting the low pay of employees of companies that provide meals and other services for United Airlines at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
[Associated Press]