It takes money to fix Tampa Bay's transportation woes. But our state lawmakers aren't asking for it.03/24/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Tampa Bay leaders aren't shy about proclaiming the need for more transportation dollars.
There's $1.2 billion of unfunded road projects in Pinellas County. That number climbs to more than $4 billion in Hillsborough.
Cash-starved transit agencies in both counties spend less per resident than counterparts almost anywhere else nationwide.
Local officials have considered everything from raising the sales tax to using BP settlement money to plug Tampa Bay's growing transportation gap. Yet as they've scrambled to fill the void, Tampa Bay's state lawmakers have taken a pass....
Members of the Florida Transportation Commission are expected to send a short-list of three candidates for Department of Transportation secretary to Governor Rick Scott by April 20.
Scott will pick an applicant from that list to replace former DOT Secretary Jim Boxold, who resigned from the department on Feb. 3 to work as a lobbyist for Capital City Consulting....
02/25/17 Mass Transit
A similar scene unfolded on both sides of the bay this week:
In Hillsborough, county commissioners evaluated how to spend $812 million allocated for transportation in the next 10 years.
In Pinellas, the transit authority board — composed of city and county leaders — debated what routes and vehicles best served the county.
Each had a moment when one member paused the discussion, raised a copy of a recent Tampa Bay Times article revealing the region has one of the worst transit systems in America, and sent the message that "We need to do better.''...
TAMPA — They stood on the sidewalk of the busy intersection, their fluorescent vests and clipboards catching the attention of passing drivers.
The group, composed of a dozen or so transportation planners, engineers, politicians and law enforcement, scanned the roadway looking for any way to make it safer for those who walk or ride a bike.
To start with, the sidewalk's steep slope wasn't compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. The crosswalk was slanted, not perpendicular to the curb, which is preferred. Across the street, a sidewalk stopped abruptly, leaving nowhere to go for walkers. Bushes, signs and a large green metal box made it difficult for drivers at the stoplight to see people who might cross in front of them....
The crowd of politicos buzzed on the deck of the Cross-Bay Ferry as it made its first journey Tuesday from the Vinoy Basin in downtown St. Petersburg across the bay to downtown Tampa.
The wind whipped around them. Women searched for hair ties as groups huddled close, shouting over the din of the engine....
Starting this week, people will finally have a way to cross Tampa Bay that doesn't involve driving on one of the area's congested bridges.
The Cross-Bay Ferry departs on its maiden voyage at 10 a.m. today from the Vinoy Basin in St. Petersburg. But that trip is only for elected officials, transportation leaders, business groups and other designated "VIPs."
The general public will have to wait until Friday to test out the region's latest transportation option. For the first three weeks, anyone can ride the ferry on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; the other days of the week are reserved for investors, businesses and other designated groups....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners approved a $600 million list of transportation projects that consists largely of road work, telling opponents they'll deal later with expanding transit options in the county.
The commission voted in September to set aside the money for the work over the next 10 years, starting with $35 million in 2017 and increasing $5 million each year for a decade....
About 15 people spoke during the Hillsborough County Commission’s meeting Wednesday morning about a proposed $600 million, 10-year transportation plan -- and more are waiting to share their thoughts later this afternoon.
Commissioner Chaiman Les Miller limited the public comment period to 45 minutes so the board could vote on other matters on the agenda. He said more than 30 people had signed up to speak. Those who did not have time in the morning are invited to address the board in the afternoon session. It’s unclear how many will come back to give their statements....
Rep. Darryl Rouson, after narrowly edging out two other well-known lawmakers in the Democratic primary, will take on political newcomer John "Mr. Manners" Houman, a Republican, to replace longtime Tampa lawmaker Arthenia Joyner in the state Senate.
About the job: Senate District 19 once covered portions of three counties, but has now narrowed to Pinellas and Hillsborough. State senators serve four-year terms and are paid $29,697 a year....
TAMPA — Tampa City Council members want to know the full economic impact of Tampa Bay Express, the $6 billion road project that will add tolls to the area's interstates.
The Florida Department of Transportation updated the council Thursday on the status of the massive road project, known as TBX, including potential community enhancements the state hopes to make once TBX is finished....
TAMPA — The City Council wants to know the full economic impact of Tampa Bay Express, the $6 billion road project that will add tolls to the area’s interstates.
The Florida Department of Transportation on Thursday updated the council on the status of the massive road project, known as TBX, including potential community enhancements the state hopes to make once TBX is built....
TAMPA — Community members on Tuesday berated local officials who voted to approve Tampa Bay Express, calling them "chumps" and accusing them of failing to properly vet the interstate expansion project that will add toll lanes from Tampa to St. Petersburg.
The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization, a group of elected and appointed officials who oversee transportation decisions in the county, had its first board meeting since state officials decided Monday to change course on an important part of TBX: replacing a free lane with a toll lane on the new northbound span of the Howard Frankland Bridge....
Community members berated officials during a board meeting Tuesday morning for voting to approve Tampa Bay Express, calling them “chumps” who failed to properly vet the road expansion project.
The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization, a group of elected and appointed officials who oversee transportation decisions in the county, had its first board meeting since controversy broke last month over the state’s plan to put a toll on the Howard Frankland Bridge....
The Florida Department of Transportation reversed course Monday and abandoned a controversial plan to add a toll to an existing lane on the Howard Frankland Bridge when part of it is rebuilt in 2019.
The department also canceled two public hearings on the bridge replacement scheduled for this week.
In a letter from DOT Secretary Jim Boxold to State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, the state announced it would keep all four of the bridge's lanes free for drivers....
10/01/16 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Residents of the Mosley Motel continued their exodus Saturday as the threat of eviction loomed.
While many had cleared out their belongings and found new places to stay, about 25 of the motel's 110 rooms were still occupied Saturday afternoon, said Cliff Smith, the city's manager of veterans, social and homeless services.
Some who were still there Saturday were waiting on friends or family to help them move, Smith said. ...