TBARTA Meets on Regional Transit

10/26/07 Seán Kinane
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This morning in Tampa the board of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, or TBARTA met. TBARTA has been tasked by the Florida Legislature to come up with a regional transportation master plan for the seven coastal counties from Citrus to Sarasota by July 1st, 2009.

WMNF’s Seán Kinane reports.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio is one of the 16 members of the TBARTA board. She said that while the authority has to plan long-term projects, it should make sure that its constituents are able to see real progress quickly.

The board members discussed TBARTA’s goals and objectives, its financing, and committees, including the Citizens Advisory Committee. Pinellas County Commissioner Ronnie Duncan was elected Vice Chair and Pasco County Commissioner Ann Hildebrand was elected Secretary / Treasurer. Former pro football player Shelton Quarles was selected last month by Governor Charlie Crist to chair the TBARTA board.

State Representative Bill Galvano is not a member of the board, but he suggested that TBARTA come up with a regional transportation master plan earlier than mandated by statute. He said that having a plan is essential to getting federal transportation funding and that the next time there will be a good opportunity to apply would be early in 2009. In order for a regional transit system to work, there has to be a change in land use patterns in the region and less reliance on roads for transportation, according to Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard.

Because the Authority needs legal advice right away, several funding options were proposed. The most popular plan was a public-private partnership in which each of the five Metropolitan Planning Organizations, or MPOs, in the region would contribute ten thousand dollars and businesses would donate a total of fifty thousand dollars as well. This would fund legal counsel through the end of the fiscal year.

The next TBARTA board meeting is November 30th at the County Center in downtown Tampa. Learn more

TBARTA http://www.tbarta.com/

TBARTA 813-217-4048

Regional alternative transit map (pdf)

Commissioner David Russell, Hernando County http://www.hernandocounty.us/bocc/district4.htm

Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard http://www.clearwater-fl.com/gov/city_council/biographies/bio1.asp

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