1. Transportation

Pinellas transit officials work to win support for light rail

Published Mar. 15, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG — It will be at least a year before voters in Pinellas County get to take a position on a new sales tax to overhaul the area's transportation system. But transit officials are already busy trying to win public support for the idea.

On Friday, business owners and city officials met at the Dali museum to discuss the future of transportation, with an emphasis on a proposed 24-mile light rail. The informational gathering of movers-and-shakers included representatives from many of the city's biggest employers, including Bayfront Medical Center, All Children's Hospital and people who own shops and restaurants downtown.

"There's been a lot of studies about this in Pinellas County," said Scott Pringle, a planner at Jacobs Engineering, who guided participants through a power point about transit. "Light rail does a really good job of spurring economic development and creating jobs."

Pringle and other transit officials in the room didn't have a tough sell. Many hands went up when people were asked if they supported the idea of rail connecting the county's major population and employment centers — downtown St. Petersburg, Clearwater and the Gateway area. Pringle said officials want to have more discussions like this in the coming months. For more information, visit