Transit eNews of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

and its Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board (TDCB) 

Issue 10 | December 2013



In this Issue

Imagine 2040
Joe Amon will be missed
Regional Transportation Summit
Counties collaborating for better service
SouthShore Transit Circulator Study
What's ahead for transit?
MetroRapid Awarded
Tampa needs plan for rail
TBARTA can help with school commutes

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Run for It
Get a fresh perspective
on Tampa at your one legal opportunity to
RUN the new elevated
I-4 / Selmon Connector!

When: December 28

More info @
Upcoming Meetings

Monday, Dec 9 
4:00 p.m. 
Downtown Transit Assets & Opportunities Study Stakeholders Kickoff Meeting

Wednesday, Dec 11
1:15 p.m.
Joint Citizens &
Technical Advisory Committees

5:30 p.m. 
Joint Livable Roadways & Bicycle / Pedestrian Advisory Committees

Thursday, Dec 12
5:30 p.m. 
Imagine 2040 Working Group 
Friday, Dec 13
9:30 a.m. 
MPO Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board Meeting 

For additional meetings, details, and agenda packets (available one week prior to each meeting), visit:
FDOT logo
District 7
Tentative Work Program

Public Hearing
Public Hearing Webinar 
for 5-Year Tentative Work Program for FY 14/15 - 18/19

Monday, December16 
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Register for Webinar

More information
& viewing locations. 

3500+ weigh in on Imagine 2040!    


In November, we concluded our Imagine 2040 survey, adding up to our most successful public engagement campaign ever with more than 3,500 participants weighing in! You've spoken, and now we're sifting through more than 91,500 choices, preferences, and comments, to produce a draft hybrid vision to the guide the Plan 2040 Transportation Plan and Comprehensive Plans for Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City and unincorporated Hillsborough County. In coming weeks, we'll be posting detailed summaries and reports online. Meanwhile, it's time to put our Imagine 2040 Working Group back to work! 


Imagine 2040 Working Group
Next Meeting:

Thursday, December 12
Open House
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Brief presentation @ 6:00 p.m.

County Center, 26th Floor
601 E Kennedy Boulevard
Downtown Tampa

Review and comment on preliminary Imagine 2040 results and the draft hybrid vision.



Joe Amon: A decade of MPO leadership,

A lifetime of giving

"The Remembrance of the good done those we have loved is the only consolation when we have lost them."

Chair Joe Amon honored by the CAC at the January 2013 MPO CAC meeting.
Joe Amon honored by the MPO Citizens Advisory Committee in January 2012 for ten years of dedicated service as Chair.

With heavy hearts, we say goodbye to Joe Amon, who passed away on November 27. Appointed to the MPO Citizens Advisory Committee in 2001 and serving as its Chair for a decade, Joe was an Air Force veteran dedicated to service to our nation and our community. He gave so much through so many organizations. We are grateful for his caring nature, wit and wisdom, steadfast leadership, and unwavering representation of our citizens in advising the MPO Board... A great legacy.
Joe Amon will be missed.


Summit highlights transformational projects   


More than 200 people packed the ballroom of the Tampa International Airport Marriott to be charged up by transformational projects in the Tampa - Orlando super region.  Convened by the Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco MPOs, the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Summit featured dynamic federal, state, regional and private sector leaders.

Hillsborough County Aviation Authority CEO Joe Lopano welcomed participants to Tampa International Airport.  He reminded them that 42 years ago TIA was built with a revolutionary design involving automated trams connecting the main terminal to airsides - the first such use of automated guideway technology in the world.  Later on, he presented TIA's Master Plan.


Hillsborough Commissioner and MPO Chair Mark Sharpe kicked off the summit.  Stuart Rogel, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Partnership, stressed the importance of regional transportation to economic development. Mr. Rogel emphasized that with better local and regional connections, the combined Tampa - Orlando super region would be the 10th largest market in the U.S. 


Congressman John Mica, from the Orlando area, is the former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  He gave a pep talk telecast from his Washington, D.C. office. "Referenda often fail on the first try," Rep. Mica said, "so don't give up."  He emphasized the need for the region to speak with one voice, citing the Miami Intermodal Center as a prime example of regional cooperation. 


The summit highlighted key projects in the Tampa - Orlando Super Region and throughout Florida.  Highlights included: 

  • Rusty Roberts from All Aboard Florida's update on the Florida East Coast Industries' exciting plan to connect Miami, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport with a new, privately financed passenger rail system. Of particular significance, these stations will be served by local streetcar, people movers, and transit circulators.  All Aboard Florida is already fueling revitalization efforts.
  • Mike Wacht of Sunrail briefed attendees on the construction of the new commuter rail system that will parallel I-4 through the Orlando urban area, with service starting next year.
  • Metroplan Executive Director Harold Barley presented Orlando's ambitious public-private partnership and I-4 Master Plan for expanding and adding express toll lanes to a 21-mile stretch of interstate; the project will cost over $2 billion and take six years to accomplish.
  • Situated between Orlando and Tampa, Polk County has a referendum coming up in 2014 to swap a property tax for a penny sales tax; Polk Transit Exec. Director Tom Phillips provided a preview of "My Ride" plans tailored for each of Polk's 17 cities.
  • Likewise, Pinellas County has scheduled a 2014 referendum to fund light rail and expanded bus service.  PSTA Executive Director Brad Miller shared Greenlight Pinellas, a plan that includes a premium transit connection to Tampa across the Howard Frankland Bridge.

Other speakers include FDOT District 7 Secreary Paul Steinmann, TBARTA Chair Ronnie Duncan, Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority Executive Director Joe Waggoner, Pasco County Planning Director Richard Gehring, Sarasota-Manatee MPO Executive Director Michael Howe, and Hillsborough County MPO Executive Director Ray Chiaramonte.  Each presented multi-modal initiatives in their respective areas.

Hillsborough Television captured the entire event and posted the summit in two parts, available at on the Hillsborough County YouTube channel:


Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Summit Part 1 

Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Summit Part 2  


In addition, all of the presentations are available on the Hillsborough County MPO's website.  



Counties collaborate for better access to human services 

Sunshine Line


Three public workshops were held in Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in November on the Tri-County Access Plan (TCAP).  Workshops included a presentation, structured exercises to collect feedback, and an open comment section for the public to weigh-in on public transportation. The Hillsborough Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board is scheduled to learn the results of these workshops on December 13 at 9:30 a.m., 601 E Kennedy Boulevard, 2nd Floor in Downtown Tampa.  

Created  in 2007 by the Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas County MPOs in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 7, the TCAP seeks to improve coordinated transportation services for the Tampa Bay area by prioritizing, selecting, and funding human services transportation projects that benefit  the elderly, disabled, and low-income populations. The MPOs were able to leverage the available funding and support projects of regional significance serving these target populations, as well as projects that can enhance regional transportation services.


The TCAP is an effort to promote a publicly driven approach to planning, coordinating, and funding transportation services within the tri-county area. The plan includes goals to improve:

  • Access to transportation services to employment for low-income individuals
  • Transportation services to increase integration of people with disabilities in the workforce and full participation in society
  • Safety through pedestrian amenities  

The three Local Coordinating Boards for the transportation disadvantaged will meet jointly on January 16, 2014 at 2 p.m. to discuss the plan. That meeting will be held at the FDOT District 7 offices (11201 N McKinley Drive, Tampa).


How can you help? Take a short survey! This survey will close on December 20, 2013. Please share this link with others interested in Tri County Access Plan update. For more information, contact Michele Ogilvie at 813.273.3774 x371 or



Transit Circulator Study kicks off 


A dozen community stakeholders met on November 19th at the SouthShore Regional Library to kick off a Transit Circulator Study. The study is a joint effort of the Hillsborough MPO and HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority). The purpose is to plan for evolving transit needs in Apollo Beach, Boyette, Gibsonton, Riverview, Ruskin, Sun City Center, and Wimauma Village.


SouthShore is the fastest growing area in Hillsborough County, doubling its population in the past ten years and accounting for nearly half of the building permits issued in the unincorporated parts of the county. Due to the area's growth and developments, such as St Joseph's Hospital and Amazon's distribution center, the study will assess emerging demand for additional transit service in the SouthShore area. The goal of the study is to develop a locally preferred route and service plan based on input from stakeholders and the public.


For updates and further information visit the SouthShore Transit Circulator Study on Or contact Sarah McKinley at 813.273.3774 x382 or



What's ahead for transit?


In October HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority) adopted a 10-year Transit Development Plan (TDP). The TDP actually consists of two plans, one based on the status quo and the other a vision plan.


This update of the TDP reviews recent accomplishments and current projects, aligns the TDP with the current budget and financial projections. Current projects include:

  • A new CNG Fueling Station
  • Farebox Replacements
  • Build-out of HART's Ybor headquarters
  • Drainage improvements at HART's 21st Ave operations base 

The Status Quo and Vision Plans propose a variety of route enhancements, new MetroRapid routes, Park-and-Ride lots, and two new maintenance facilities.  The Status Quo Plan includes only projects that can be funded. Due to budget and facility constraints, the plan aims to maintain the existing level of service and only includes projects that do not require additional buses. Thus under the status quo, service expansion is limited to nights and weekends for 24 current routes. Route 46 (Davis Island - West Brandon) is the only proposed change, removing service from Davis Island and extending service from the Marion Transit Center to East Brandon/Dover.


The Vision Plan is unfunded and focuses on new express, local, flex, and MetroRapid routes. The plan calls for 175 additional buses, 11 new paratransit vans, a new maintenance facility and the relocation of the paratransit vans to an off-site maintenance facility. The primary focus of the Vision Plan is expanded MetroRapid service, including five (5) new MetroRapid routes.  These would be in addition to the Nebraska-Fletcher MetroRapid currently in operation and the East-West MetroRapid currently under development. The Vision Plan also includes increased service frequency on 24 existing routes and the addition of 12 local routes, 6 flex circulators, 6 express routes, 3 community circulators, and 5 Park-and-Ride lots. The Vision Plan lays out projects year by year.  If funding becomes available, then the projects will occur according to the schedule.  If not, the unfunded project will be bumped to the next year until funding becomes available.


For more information view a copy of the TDP or contact HART at 813.623.5835. 


MetroRapid receives award for outstanding contribution 


Each year the Planning Commission celebrates great planning and design throughout Hillsborough County at its Annual Planning & Design Awards. Among this year's award winners was HART's North/South MetroRapid corridor. Designed by Kimley-Horn and Associates and HDR Engineering, the MetroRapid corridor received an award in both the investment and planning categories for Outstanding Contribution to our Community." 


HART's MetroRapid is a faster way to take the bus to destinations within the North-South corridor, operating along Fletcher and Nebraska Avenues between downtown and the University of South Florida. It is the first operating unit of seven planned routes throughout the HART service area encompassing Hillsborough County and the connections to transportation agencies in our bordering counties.


The judges were all aboard MetroRapid as a turning point investment for premium transit in this area. The public involvement throughout the planning process, and the complexities surmounted to bring all the parties together, produced a great start and branding for the Hillsborough area.


This year's Planning & Design Awards were held October 17 at Maestro's at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and were presented by Tampa Electric.  For a complete listing of all the award winners, visit Great Planning & Design at 



FDOT Secretary says Tampa needs to plan for rail connection 


Tampa is the "natural progression" for a future extension of the All Aboard Florida commuter rail service being developed between downtown Miami and Orlando International Airport, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad said.


Business and political leaders here "ought to be thinking about how they can create the climate, create the business environment that All Aboard Florida can leverage if and when they decide to extend that rail to Tampa," Prasad said. "The key thing for any rail project is the transit-oriented development. You need development around the train station."


The state's top transportation official was in Tampa to open the first phase of a $55 million petroleum berth manifold system at the Port of Tampa.  


This summer FDOT and the Orange County Expressway Authority approved lease and purchase agreements, respectively, providing right-of-way to route railroad track between existing lines on Florida's east coast and the Orlando airport.


Prasad told Tampa Bay Business Journal that Tampa leaders need to plan the location for a Tampa rail station and encourage development "so that if growth is there already it becomes financial lucrative for All Aboard Florida to extend."

Some Tampa Bay business and political leaders are worried the intra-city commuter train and its corresponding economic development will bypass the region.


Rusty Roberts, vice president of corporate development for Florida East Coast Industries, private backers of the $1.5 billion rail project, said the company has not studied expanding the route beyond the Orlando-Miami segment. He said it is "premature" to discuss a connection to Tampa.


"It is essential that we get the Miami-Orlando system built before taking further steps," Roberts told the Business Journal on October 10. 


Article courtesy of Mark Holan, Tampa Bay Business Journal.


TBARTA makes the commute to school a breeze!  


As part of its "right-now solutions", TBARTA has a Regional School Commute Program, to make the trip to and from elementary, middle, and high school easier for parents and students.


This arrangement is with participating schools around Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Hernando Counties, where students travel longer distances, like at magnet or fundamental schools. In places where busing isn't viable or provided, carpooling to school can help! It reduces traffic around schools, saves money, and helps the environment!


Parents follow the same process as other commuters - they create an online profile and receive in return a match list of other parents at their school who they could potentially coordinate with. All information collected by TBARTA is confidential and securely stored.


TBARTA also provides matching for those who want their students to walk or bike to school with other parents and students, as part of a walking school bus or bike train.


Learn more about TBARTA's Regional School Commute Program. Check to see if your student's school is already participating in the School Program. If it isn't, talk to your school's principal about joining!



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