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Tampa begins National Bike Month listen

05/02/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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May is National Bike Month, and to observe the occasion, more than three dozen cyclists rode into downtown Tampa on Friday.

With gasoline rising toward $4 a gallon, the incentive to ride a bike has never been greater. Just outside of Mayor Pam Iorio’s office, National Bike Month was noted, with dozens of cyclists being a part of the festivities.

One of those cyclists was Bob Glaser, chair of the Tampa Downtown Partnership. He referred to a local group responsible for the event, T...

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CSX deal still up in the air listen

04/30/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday

A vote in the state House yesterday gave CSX $436 million for the right of way for a transportation project and grants the company lawsuit liability protection.

The Legislature’s bill is a little less expensive than the $650-million plan that the Florida Department of Transportation had previously negotiated. The deal is a controversial one – not only for its still enormous price tag in a terrible budget year, but also because of what critics call a "back deal" arrangement.

Doug Ca...

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Pheonix CEO of mass transit visits Tampa listen

04/24/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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As the Tampa Bay area ramps up efforts to bring mass transit to the region, the Tampa City Council today hosted the CEO of Valley Metro Rail in Pheonix to discuss how that transit agency built a rail network.

Richard Simonetta provided a Power Point presentation to the Council, reviewing the chronology of referendums that were proposed back as far as 1989. It wasn’t until November 2004 that the area finally had a regional tax that kicked the project off. The first 20 miles of light rail ...

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Rally against CSX rail deal in Lakeland listen

04/21/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Lakeland business and labor leaders rallied today against plans for a deal between CSX and the state of Florida for a commuter rail line in the Orlando area.

About 170 people held signs and chanted in downtown Lakeland’s Munn Park, next to the rail line shared by CSX and Amtrak. Julie Townsend, executive director of the Downtown Lakeland Partnership, said that the cost to Florida’s taxpayers of the CSX deal had “gotten out of control.”

Townsend thanked Sen. Paula Dockery and Re...

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Commissioner: MPO director needed to go listen

04/18/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe has been creating waves in recent weeks. Earlier this month, he declared in the pages of the Tampa Tribune that the County’s Transportation agency executive director, Lucie Ayres, needed to go.

A week ago, Ayres took the hint, leaving her $130,000 job at the county’s Metropolitian Planning Organization. Yesterday, Sharpe came by the WMNF studios to talk about the future of mass transit in the region.

But first we asked about cynicism th...

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Tampal endorses Legislative funding proposal for TBARTA listen

04/10/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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The Tampa City Council today passed a motion supporting a compromise bill in the Florida Legislature that would divert funding from the state’s transportation department into three regional transit authorities in the state, including TBARTA, the agency for the Tampa Bay Area.

Darrell Smith, Mayor Pam Iorio’s chief of staff, spoke about a bill in the Florida House sponsored by Bradenton Republican Bill Galvano. Smith said the rental tax surcharge would apply to each of the counties wit...

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State lawmakers say CSX deal smells bad listen

04/01/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Last week, the state Department of Transportation said the price of purchasing 61 miles of CSX track near Orlando and relocating a rail yard to Winter Haven had increased by a third. The cost to taxpayer, originally estimated at $491-million two years ago, is now at supposed to cost $650-million.

It’s just the latest bit of questionable news for a project that was created in secrecy by Gov. Jeb Bush back in 2004. The money to pay for the project is to come from money previously earmarked...

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Sustainable Living: Bicycling

03/24/08 Jon Butts and Rob Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Friday)
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Guests were Julie Bond, senior research associate at the Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida and co-chair of Tampa BayCycle; Tina Russo, senior park manager, UTB Trail/Suncoast Trail/Town and Country Greenway Trail for Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department; and Alan Snel, founder of the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club.

They discussed upcoming bicycle related activities, cycling courses, new urban bike lanes and took calls and emai...

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Scionti on CSX rail line and immunity – Part 1 listen

03/21/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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A 61-mile commuter rail line through Orlando and other sections of Central Florida moved closer to becoming a reality yesterday. A state House panel gave a first approval to the $491-million purchase of rail lines from the company CSX; but not before the House infrastructure committee voted 8-2 to make the state pay for damages or injuries on the commuter rail even if CSX is at fault.

Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, sponsored the amendment.

Rep. Mike Scionti, D-Tampa, was one of only ...

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Public opposition kills Bayway toll increase listen

03/20/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday

There will not be higher tolls on the Pinellas Bayway this year.

According to state lawmakers, a proposal that would have raised the cost of going to Fort De Soto Park from 35 cents to $2.50, and raise the toll to St. Pete Beach to $1.25 from its current 50-cent charge is now off the table.

Public pressure led to the plans collapse. Last week, more than 400 people showed up at a town hall meeting at the St Pete Beach Community Center.

Travis Jarman, co-chair of the Citizens Bayway...

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