BRADENTON — Officials on Tampa Bay's seven-county transportation board decided Friday to pay the group's first executive director $150,000 a year and to hire that person within two months.
TBARTA, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, says it needs an experienced leader to oversee a big job: building a more elaborate mass transit system linking different parts of the region.
Elected officials from Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and three other counties who sit on TBARTA's board want a director who will work to engage the public.
In the next few months, the board will make some decisions about TBARTA's evolving plan for mass transit in the bay area. A public hearing on this master plan will take place in January.
Also Friday, board members were told that a recent series of community workshops found a lot of interest in light rail linking Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, and express buses linking Citrus, Hernando and Pasco.
"We heard a lot of 'Get going already' and 'Stop talking and start moving,' " said state transportation official Bob Clifford, who's been acting as TBARTA's temporary director.