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Michael Van Sickler, Tampa Bay Times

Michael Van Sickler

Michael has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2003. A Cleveland, Ohio, native, he graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and got his master's degree at the University of Florida. He has worked at the Ledger and the Palm Beach Post. For the Times, he has covered everything from mortgage fraud, growth and development in Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg City Hall and state government in Tallahassee. He's now assistant metro editor for the paper.

Phone: (727) 580-9650.

Email: mvansickler@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MikeVanSickler

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  1. Toll roads surge in U.S. as rest of infrastructure declines

    Blog

    Notice how infrastructure spending has lagged in the U.S. compared to other countries?

    Or that the federal gas tax hasn't been raised since 1993?

    How about that the federal share of revenue paying for Florida's roads, once more than 50 percent, is now below 25 percent?...

  2. What the 8 years since the recession torpedoed Florida’s state budget tell us about Gov. Rick Scott’s priorities

    State Roundup

    Gov. Rick Scott vowed to make steep spending cuts upon taking office in 2011. With an assist from state lawmakers, he's done just that in the past six years.

    More than 13,000 state positions have been eliminated, which will save $152 million next year. The state has slashed more than $800 million in its mental health and elderly services. Florida Bright Futures dropped by a third, or $120 million....

  3. St. Pete Pier design wins top award for NYC architects

    Blog

    The architects for St. Pete's new pier picked up a prestigious design award this week.

    The New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects gave Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers the Merit Award, which recognizes distinguished achievement in urban design....

  4. Think TBX is getting opposition? Check out what's happening outside Seattle

    Blog

    FDOT's $3.3 billion Tampa Bay Express plan (or is it $6 billion?) has drawn mounting criticism and protests for months for its proposed use of toll lanes....

  5. Post recession: "American Dream" takes a hit in Florida, among older millennials

    Blog

    How much has the housing market changed since the Great Recession?

    Quite a bit, according to an analysis by Mark Uh, a data scientist at the real estate blog Trulia.

    Of the 50 largest metro regions, Tampa had the fifth largest climb in the percentage of renters from 2006 to 2014. Here are the top 10:...

  6. As Kriseman pushes for bike share, Seattle offers up a cautionary tale

    Blog

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has struggled to get City Council members to support his bike-share program. 

    They resisted the idea of using BP settlement money for the program last year. After raising a series of questions about the viability of the program last week, Council members decided to bring it up again next month....

  7. GE brings to light just how far Tampa Bay is slipping behind top tier cities

    Blog

    It's hard to imagine, but there was a time during the 00's that Tampa Bay leaders really believed suburban office parks would be the future.

    They planned to make Interstate 4 a "High Tech Corridor" lined with massive office parks, from Tampa to Orlando.

    "Economic developers and corridor promoters agree that the coming decade will be the critical time to position Florida's High-Tech Corridor as more high-tech companies nationwide seek out a home base," Florida Trend wrote in 2001. "While not yet on par with the big-league regions, central Florida's manufacturing and high-tech companies have gained real momentum. Says Guy Hagen, assistant director for economic development at USF: 'The (growth) curve is beginning to be visible.'"  ...

  8. New census data reveals economic picture for bay area after collapse of housing market

    Growth

    We're still making sense of how the Great Recession changed Tampa Bay.

    But make no mistake. This region will never be the same.

    Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released data that provides one of the best glimpses yet of how the the 2008 housing crash transformed a nation.

    Since 2005, the bureau conducts an ongoing survey that samples about 3.5 million addresses per year.

    The American Community Survey collects data on a wide range of demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics over a 60-month period that are designed to produce critical information previously collected in the decennial (every 10 years) census. ...

    [STEVE MADDEN | Times]
  9. Peak-hour myopia: Why we're doomed by rush hour traffic

    Blog

    Larding up any Department of Transportation work plan are projects that cost millions, but do little to improve our quality of life. (Exhibit A: The $100 million + Bruce B. Downs expansion project -- all that money and it won't even ease congestion). ...

  10. Rick Scott appoints Green Bench owner and Bill Foster to St. Pete College board

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott on Friday appointed former St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, who lost a re-election bid despite winning Scott's endorsement two years ago, and growler champion Nathan Stonecipher, the owner of Green Bench Brewing Co., to serve on the District Board of Trustees for St. Petersburg College....

    Stonecipher
  11. The New Yorker: As sea levels rise, disaster scenario unfolding in Miami Beach

    Blog

    If you thought The New Yorker's story about what would happen if an earthquake were to rattle the Northwest was unsettling (and it was), wait until you read this week's story about Miami Beach.

    In "The Siege of Miami", staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert writes about a problem that we know all too well: The daily high water mark has been rising almost an inch a year in the Miami area. To compensate, the city of Miami Beach has spent a hundred million dollars, with many more planned. Hal Wanless, the chairman of the University of Miami's geological-sciences department, dismissed the city's efforts, according to Kolbert....

  12. Shocker: I-4 near Tampa's downtown one of 50 worst bottlenecks

    Blog

    As anyone who's driven Interstate 4 near downtown Tampa knows, it's pretty bad.

    How bad?

    According to a study by the American Highway Users Alliance of America's urban freeways, it's one of the nation's worst bottlenecks, which are portions of highways that are routinely and consistently congested. ...

    Looking east from the Interstate 275 junction with Interstate 4 during a particularly bad rush hour in 2006.
  13. Single women with cats flock to Tampa Bay

    Blog

    Yes, believe it. Nielsen Scarborough, the market research firm, has ranked the cities with the highest percentage of single women who live alone with at least one cat.

    No, really. 

    And Tampa/St. Petersburg ranks ninth at 7.5 percent, just a wee bit behind Minneapolis/St. Paul and Harrisburg, PA, with 7.7 percent. No. 1 is, of course, Portland, with 9.9 percent....

  14. Study: Minor increase in bike use would save U.S. trillions

    Blog

    As the 25th anniversary of the Pinellas Trail approaches, it's important to remember that when it debuted, only three other locales had something like it. Now, more than 1,000 cities do.

    With bike share programs now provided by Tampa, and perhaps soon in St. Petersburg, bike use should only go up, here and nationally.

    And that would be very good news, according to a University of California, Davis report released this month....

  15. VIDEO: All aboard Brightline! (No, not you, Tampa Bay)

    Blog

    Renderings were unveiled Monday of the privately owned and operated passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando that's set to debut in mid-2017.
    The company building it, All Aboard Florida, also unveiled the name: Brightline.

    So glory in all the possibilities express rail (it's not high-speed rail) will bring to Central and South Florida. The Miami New Times has a pretty good summary of the project here. The Sun-Sentinel's review ("bold look!") is here. ...

    This won't be stopping in Tampa Bay