The Tampa Bay Partnership’s 2018 Policy Agenda was developed with the input and involvement of our investors and key community partners, focusing on the greatest economic challenge facing Tampa Bay today: transportation.
We believe that improving the movement of people and commerce throughout the Tampa Bay region will require:
- The development of a multi-modal transportation system
- Transportation governance structures that promote a regional approach to planning and operations
- Transportation policies that enhance connectivity and mobility for all residents of the region
- Transportation projects that maximize infrastructure investments
In 2018, we will center our advocacy efforts on advancing public policy solutions in four key areas:
REGIONAL TRANSIT OPERATIONS
Support the development of a regional transit authority
With the Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) successfully repositioned to provide a much-needed
structure for planning, implementing and operating regional transit in Tampa Bay, it’s imperative that the organization move forward purposefully in its newly-focused role. Just as the Tampa Bay Partnership played a key role in passing legislation to repurpose TBARTA, we intend to monitor and influence its actions going forward.
In the immediate future, TBARTA will require:
• a strong governing board with private and public sector advocates for regional transit;
• a recurring source of funding to support the ongoing operation of regional transit service;
• and the implementation of additional statutory reforms, as necessary, to further refine the organizational
structure and its authority over regional transit planning.
The stakes are high. At nearly 3 million people, the Tampa Bay MSA is the 18th largest metro area in the country.
Every weekday, an estimated 1.2 million residents commute to work, with nearly 250,000 of them crossing county
lines to reach their place of employment. For these commuters, our limited inter-county transit service makes the use of public transportation a challenge, limiting options for workers and the companies that need them. This
creates a competitive disadvantage for our region, which currently ranks 77th among the top 100 metro areas in
access to jobs by transit.
We will lead efforts to develop an efficient and effective regional transit authority in Tampa Bay, and advocate for any state or local actions this may require.
REGIONAL MOBILITY OPTIONS
Support the development of new transit projects that increase regional connectivity
The Regional Transit Feasibility Plan (RTFP), funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), commenced in October 2016. When complete, it will present a multi-county vision for a transit system that ultimately connects our entire region. The RTFP will also recommend a catalyst transit project, identifying the preferred corridor and technology with a phased implementation plan. Finally, the RTFP will prepare an application for state and federal funding, if additional funding sources are required.
We will advocate for and support any federal, state or local actions that allow for the implementation of recommendations from the Regional Transit Feasibility Plan.
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
Support the creation of a regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
Multiple county-based decision-making channels hinder the planning, development and implementation of an
effective regional transportation system connecting all of Tampa Bay. A consolidated, multi-county MPO would
make Tampa Bay more competitive in pursuing state and federal transportation funding, and facilitate a regional
decision-making process for long-range transportation plans.
We will advocate for and support any federal, state or local actions that allow for the creation of a regional Metropolitan Planning Organization.
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE
Support infrastructure investments that align with an integrated, multi-modal regional transportation system
Tampa Bay Next is a comprehensive program to modernize our regional transportation infrastructure and prepare it for the future. The program includes major interstate improvement projects that will update key interchanges, replace aging infrastructure, improve mobility on portions of I-275 and I-4, and preserve a right-of-way corridor for future transit options. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 7 is currently engaging in efforts to “reset” the project by researching best practices, reevaluating community impact and responding to public input. As part of this effort, they are also completing the rigorous federal Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process.
We will advocate for and support the timely completion of the Tampa Bay Next interstate improvement projects and improved collaboration between the affected communities and FDOT.