Sunday, February 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Plan pushes airport, rail into new era

The master plan that Tampa International Airport adopted Thursday lays the groundwork for adding flights and boosting the airport's role as a regional economic engine. It strikes the right balance between investing in the future and being realistic about the airport's needs and opportunities over the next 20 years. But the master plan's greatest impact might occur off the airport's property, as it moves the region forward on building a modern rail system.

The blueprint the governing board agreed to Thursday would extend the life of the 41-year-old main terminal, removing the rental car operations to free valuable space and expanding the existing facility to handle more international passengers. New automated people movers would carry traffic between the airsides and to a consolidated rental car facility on the southern end of the property. By making more efficient use of its comparatively small footprint, TIA could put more land into flying-related commercial uses. Restaurants and retail space and even a new hotel would generate additional money for the publicly owned facility and stabilize its finances by broadening the revenue base.

The most promising aspect of the plan is its potential as a catalyst for regional rail. The document envisions linking the airport with whatever mass transit system local governments in the region eventually develop. TIA would connect its people mover to a future mass transit hub in the nearby West Shore business district. That opens the door for passengers to travel between the airport, downtown Tampa and Pinellas County without getting into a car. And it would inspire the region to look beyond bus service and toward a rail network that connects the major destinations on both sides of the bay.

The airport's plan could also transform West Shore, which has the largest concentration of commercial office space in Florida. A transit hub serving the airport would make it cheaper and easier for business travelers to get to the West Shore business district. And it would attract bus circulator and other mass transit to serve the area's two malls, dozens of hotels and thousands of businesses. West Shore could be more pedestrian-friendly and reintroduce itself as a place to work, live and play.

The airport's first concern must be serving air travelers and maintaining TIA's reputation for quality. The transit portion of its master plan advances those goals by improving how people get in and out of the airport. But the master plan also advances the ball by underscoring among local leaders the importance of including mass transit in plans for the future. And positioning the airport to better serve the entire region is a reminder to area governments that the local market is the entirety of Tampa Bay. The master plan will evolve over decades, and it may need some massaging from time to time. But it is the right vision and its benefits stand to reach far beyond the airport campus.

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Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18
Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Raysí selection of an Ybor City site near Tampaís Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball. Now comes the hard work of de...
Published: 02/09/18
Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, itís little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded w...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/13/18