Hillsborough MPO discusses transportation plan

11/06/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Today the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization approved a report by the Citizens Advisory Committee on a transportation plan for 2050.

Alan Steinbeck, project manager for the MPO Transit Study, discussed what the total cost would be for a light rail system.

Steinbeck said he wanted to have the study given to TBARTA, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, and make it part of the transit discussions that have already begun.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe said one of his concerns is that the hub of a transit station is nearby to where people live or work.

Sharpe also said he was concerned that people who chose to live in suburban areas would not feel the benefits of the system. But Andy Steinbeck said the transportation plan was about more than just light rail.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagen said it was important to include local plans in the regional plan, whenever it’s presented to the voters. Hagen said only a small percentage of people would ever use such a light rail mass transit system.

City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern disagreed, claiming that if it’s built, the public will use it. And Mulhern said development would naturally want to get build near transit stations.

City Councilman John Dingfelder also mentioned an issue rarely discussed in local government meetings - global warming - an issue some say is one of the greatest challenges the country – and world.

Former County Commissioner and current Tampa City Councilman Thomas Scott says he agrees whole–heartedly with the discussion, but said, the bottom line was, well, the bottom line.

Plant City Commissioner Rick Lott urged his colleages to think "big," whatever final plans they select.

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