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Ernest Hooper: Tampa Bay transit woes hold us back in more ways than traffic jams

I met with HART chief executive Katharine Eagan earlier this year and she laid out a thoughtful, cogent, articulate presentation of the challenges facing the transportation agency and the strategies her staff developed to address the problems and its financial shortfalls.

And then I looked at her and asked, "How long before you leave?" Eagan quickly brushed aside such talk.

But last week she announced she would leave in January to lead the transit agency in Pittsburgh. I ain't mad at her.

Hillsborough County couldn't expect to keep Eagan given the lack of political will to properly fund public transit. And we'll lose more bright minds and young leaders in all circles if we don't prioritize transportation.

A movement is rising to bring about a proposal to increase funding for transportation through a sales tax. Let's start with one promise: to listen to the proposal with an open mind. .?.?.

Seen on a bumper sticker: Give Blood, Play Hockey. .?.?.

The Cathedral Church of St. Peter, 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg, hosts the second installment of a five-part community conversation, "Restoring Respect," at 7 p.m. Tuesday. This segment focuses on the media and will feature Tampa Bay Times editor of editorials Tim Nickens, political consultant Adam Goodman and the Poynter Institute's Indira Lakshmanan. Sounds like the perfect time to talk about media literacy. Yeah, that's a thing. .?.?.

The Warehouse Arts District Association in St. Petersburg recently celebrated the opening of ArtsXchange, a space with 28 artist studios and room for events. It could turn out to be a small, but key cog in the city's ongoing transformation.

The arts matter.

That's all I'm saying.