Sunday, April 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Bay area must get moving on mass transit

If a modern transportation system for the Tampa Bay region is ever to move from a debating topic to reality, then area leaders need to recognize a launching point when it comes along. That opportunity could be today, when elected officials and the region's transportation leaders will discuss a vision that could remake the look and economy of west-central Florida for decades.

The presentations at Tampa International Airport will bring together the broadest base of leaders involved in area transit in recent memory. Officials from a half-dozen counties will explain their transportation plans for the coming years. The meeting is an opportunity to hear how rail, expanded bus and other mass transit will better move millions of people across the Tampa Bay region.

But the larger goal should be to foster a sense of collaboration. How will Hillsborough County rebound from the failed 2010 transit referendum? How will Pinellas prepare for its transit vote in 2014? How will the area counties work with TIA to build new transit options in and out of the airport? Will bay area leaders stand together in calling for rail on the new Howard Frankland Bridge span? And as Orlando moves ahead with regional and cross-state rail lines, how will the bay area capitalize on the chance to connect to the major urban markets in Central and South Florida?

The problem is not the lack of planning for transit here but the lack of political courage to carry it out. The bay area's legislative delegation has been AWOL as Orlando and Miami have moved ahead on transportation and as Jacksonville positions itself to take advantage of new passenger rail service along the East Coast. This region needs to get its act together before the transit hubs in Central and East Florida peel away the market and diminish Tampa Bay's competitive edge. The best message area leaders can send is to agree on a firm plan and timetable for bringing rail and expanded bus service to the five counties comprising the heart of Tampa Bay.

The bridge replacement, the airport's new construction and people mover plans, and the new focus on regional and cross-state rail all speak to the inadequacy of the existing transportation grid — and to the need for urgency now in planning a transit system that can keep the region competitive in the future. Today's session should be a starting point for integrating the region's transportation plans and for moving across a broad front to put the plans into place.

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Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

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Published: 04/21/18

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Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

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Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

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Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

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Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18