St. Pete mayor supports rail link with Tampa

08/13/07 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

The Tampa Tribune this morning reported on details of a possible commuter rail line linking St. Petersburg and Tampa along Interstate 275.

It is one of the ideas being considered by the newly created Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority. The group's mission is to come up with a plan and strategy to fund area transportation by July 2009.

WMNF asked St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker what he thought about a rail line linking his city with Tampa.

“I’m on the new transportation commission that’s coming forward and I’ve supported looking at mass transit and looking at ways to provide mass transit.

"I think that any mass transit system we have one, we have a bus system now, but any rail-based mass-transit system in the bay area has to start with a link across the bridge between St. Pete and Tampa because that’s really the core population centers," Baker said.

"It’s going to be expensive if you do it; but if you don’t do it, then you’ll never do it and so you’ll wind up with isolated transportation systems around the bay area.

"The leadership of the various government entities in the Bay Area that I’ve talked to seem to concur with that view -- that as we look into the development of a rail-based transit system for the bay area, the first link’s gotta be the connector between St. Pete and Tampa.”

a possible rail line between Tampa and St. Pete that could cost $1-billion. The first meeting of the Tampa Bay area Regional Transportation Authority is Aug. 24.

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