Issue 13  


Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) eNews 

July 2014     


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Imagine 2040 : Part 2 starts July 10!  

You spoke.

In Imagine 2040 : Part 1, thousands of you weighed in on long-range strategies for growth, development and transportation.


We listened.
 View the results and your Imagine 2040 Vision.

Tell us more...

...About land use growth strategies for Hillsborough County and your neighborhood. And with limited funding available, consider which transportation investments are most important to secure a prosperous future for our region.



Starting July 10th through 

September 1st -

Tell us how to get there!




Get a FREE ticket to  

Florida's Largest Home Show!


Complete the Imagine 2040 : Part 2 interactive survey by August 25th to receive a free ticket to Florida's Largest Home Show on Labor Day Weekend at the Florida State Fairgrounds, where you will get innovative ideas and expert advice at 900+ exhibits, all under one roof! 


This offer is limited to one completed survey per unique email address.  



Join us for our Launch Event! 





Thursday, July 10






Tampa Bay Grand Prix  

3404 Cragmont Drive Tampa Bay Grand Prix logo 

Tampa, FL 33619 





Press conference at 10 a.m. hosted by...

AM Tampa Bay's Jack Harris 


Bicycle valet will be available. Grand prix racing specials available for those who take the survey at Tampa Bay Grand Prix!

Persons needing translation services or special accommodations due to a disability should contact Michele at 813/273-3774 x317 or email at least three business days prior to this event.

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MPO adopts $1.3 billion transportation improvement program  

On June 3rd, the MPO approved the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the next 5 years, starting October 1, 2014.  The TIP outlines the major transportation projects to be funded with State and Federal transportation funds.


Over the next five years, the MPO's local and state partners will spend more than $1.3 billion in State, Federal and local funds on new and better roads, bridges, and intersections, as well as sidewalks, bikeways, trails, buses, and bus stops. Major projects in the coming year include:

  • Widening of Bruce B Downs Blvd north to Pasco County
  • Design for the I-275 and SR 60 interchange
  • Completion of Bike Lanes on Bayshore Blvd from Rome Ave to Bay-to-Bay Blvd 
  • Replacement of the Howard Frankland Bridge - northbound direction
  • Construction of the Automated People Mover at Tampa International Airport connecting to the CONRAC center  
  • Numerous resurfacing projects to maintain the existing roadways

Ongoing projects such as the Widening of I-275 between Westshore and Downtown, I-75 in Temple Terrace and New Tampa, East Martin Luther King Jr Blvd (SR 574) in Valrico and Seffner, and pedestrian safety improvements on Fletcher Ave will continue as well.


The TIP allocates funding to the following major project categories:


Ports, Airports & Rail Projects 

Road & Highway Capacity Projects
Bridge & Maintenance Projects
Transit Projects
Intersection, Interchange & Signalization Projects
Planning Projects
Stand-alone Walk & Bike Projects*
* Most non-Interstate road projects also include sidewalks and bicycle facilities.


For a complete listing of the Transportation Improvement Program, visit the TIP page on the Plan Hillsborough website. For more information, email Wally Blain or call 813/273-3774 x361.


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Buffered bike lanes for Fowler Ave  

FDOT District 7 has announced that Fowler Avenue has been chosen to be part of the State's Pilot Program for buffered bicycle lanes. Buffered bike lanes are similar to conventional bike lanes but with a cushion of extra space to keep bicyclists further away from moving traffic and the danger of car doors in the parking lane. They are highly visible and help to get people biking and driving out of each other's way. 


Buffered bike lanes are significantly more comfortable than conventional bike lanes: a typical bike lane has 4 feet of space, with a buffered bike lane adding another 3 feet of cushion. The buffered bike lane appeals to a wider cross-section of bicycle users and encourages bicycling by contributing to the perception of safety among cyclists.


FDOT plans to re-surface Fowler Ave next Spring. Buffered bike lanes will be part of that project. For more information contact Michele Ogilvie at 813/273-3774 x 317 or


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Building transportation resiliency  


Tampa Bay has always been vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes.  A Category 3 storm with winds of 111 to 129 mph could send water up to 21 feet deep surging inland. Even our monsoon-like summer rainstorms regularly floods low-lying roads. Adding to these hazards in the coming decades is sea level rise, which could increase Tampa Bay's tides by 14 inches by 2040.

To deal with these risks, the MPO has been looking at ways to make our transportation system more resilient. Aided by a federal grant, and with the help of Hillsborough County's Hazard Mitigation Section, FDOT, the University of Florida's GeoPlan Center, the University of South Florida, and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the MPO has identified transportation links that are subject to inundation in the Vulnerability Assessment and Adaption Study. Hillsborough County's Local Mitigation Strategy Working Group served as a sounding board for the study.

Some of the most critical and vulnerable segments identified in the study include:
  • SR 60 / Memorial Highway
  • Courtney Campbell Causeway
  • Selmon Expressway ramps
  • Gandy Boulevard
  • South 20th Street in Tampa

No one can predict when it might occur, but what would happen if a Category 3 storm took the same path as our last direct hit by a hurricane (1921) on top of the expected sea level rise by 2040?  We could experience gaps in road and rail networks due to portions being underwater, along with erosion, washouts, and other damage to road bases. Recovery of the transportation network could to take up to two months. Significant disruption to the transportation system could force drivers to travel longer distances, experience delays, or simply not be able to make their normal daily trips. In fact, TBRPC's modeling estimates that each week of such disruption to the transportation system alone potentially causes economic losses of over $200 million in Hillsborough County.

So, what can be done to guard against such risks? Over time and ideally in the course of normal maintenance and rehabilitation, strategies include:
  • Increasing the capacity of storm water systems to drain away water more quickly
  • Raising the profile of low-lying road segments to decrease exposure to flooding
  • Strengthening roadway bases or install wave attenuating devices to protect against erosion
  • Ensuring that parallel or secondary roads provide redundant access and capacity

Investing in a more resilient transportation system is a choice the public will be asked to make in the 2040 Plan. The vulnerability study found that an investment of $37 million in larger drainage capacity, shoreline armoring and wave attenuation could cut Hillsborough County's economic loss by 46 percent and shave two weeks off the transportation system's recovery time.


The results of this pilot project will be shared as a national case study for of FHWA Climate Change Vulnerabilities Assessment Pilot program. For more information view the MPO's project website or contact Allison Yeh at or 813/273-3774 x351.


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Expressway set to test automated cars


The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) announced that the Selmon Expressway is about to make history, again. Approved by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) , the Expressway has met the criteria to become an automated vehicle test bed. THEA is joining a small affiliation of other test bed locations nationwide, and only the second one in Florida.


In partnership with the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) Automated Vehicle Institute, THEA proposed the Selmon Expressway as a test bed positions Tampa Bay to become one of the nation's leading centers of research for automated vehicle technology. 


The test bed provides researchers the capability to test the safety, mobility, environmental and efficiency advantages, services, standards and components of the robotic cars "within the latest technology standards and architecture consistent with the United States Department of Transportation's Vehicle-To-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-­Infrastructure (V2I) research program," according to the RITA Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office. "It will allow for application testing with the focus and potential to save lives and provide continuous real-­time connectivity among users."  


Further into the future, planners and engineers expect driverless cars to result in fewer navigational errors, collisions and accidents, reduced traffic congestion, increased traffic flow, and higher allowable speeds. Automated cars may also provide expanded mobility for users of any age, disability or intoxication level, drastically reduced need for near-by parking and redundant drivers (since robotic cars would not need human drivers), as well as reduced need for police, vehicle insurance, taxi services and road signage. 


Florida became the second state in the nation allowing automated vehicles to operate on its roads when State Representative Jeff Brandes (R -­ St Petersburg), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, championed legislation in the 2012 Legislative Session, saying "I am glad that our local community leaders are taking the bold steps to bring technology solutions to our growing community... with projects like these, Tampa Bay will be at the cutting edge of transportation innovation."  


View THEA's Automated Vehicle Test Bed Features Brochure.  

For more information, please contact THEA CEO Joe Waggoner or Planning Director Bob Frey at 813/272-6740 or

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Port to expand container capacity  


Article courtesy of Port Tampa Bay

Port Tampa Bay is extremely pleased to announce that, after Gov. Rick Scott's signing of a funding package, the port authority will now have the funds to purchase new post-Panamax gantry cranes to expand throughput capacity at the port's growing container terminal - a $12 million boon for the state's largest and most diversified port. This strategic investment will enable it to serve the ever-increasing container vessels being deployed by regional and global carriers.  


"Port Tampa Bay is very fortunate to be in a time of growth and a time of unprecedented support on the state level for port projects that will pay dividends for future generations, create jobs and untold economic impact," said Paul Anderson, Port President and CEO. 


"Purchasing these cranes directly supports the Port's effort to expand its container business, and create new jobs in logistics and manufacturing in Hillsborough County," said Rick Homans, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. "As one of our region's most significant economic engines, it's important that Port Tampa Bay continue making these strategic investments to serve its expanding customer base," he said.  


Port Tampa Bay's container terminal, at 40 acres, has a throughput capacity of about a quarter-million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year. The port authority continues to invest in container yard-related infrastructure and upland improvements as a central focus of the port's growth plan in order to meet the needs of a huge and rapidly growing consumer market in west and central Florida. At full build-out, the container terminal will be a sprawling 160 acres, with one million TEU throughput capacity. Together, these new cranes will position Port Tampa Bay to capture cargo that has been moving via out-of-state ports, supporting much needed container service to the region, including along the I-4 corridor.


For more information visit


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Hack-a-thon shows technology can solve transportation issues


By Justine Benstead | Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Leaders in Tampa Bay increasingly recognize the need for public and private sector minds to work together to solve local problems. Efforts in Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have each made small but significant impressions on the growing innovation culture in the Tampa Bay region.

But as the region grows, so do local transportation issues. At a two-day tech-centric event called the Hillsborough Hack-a-thon May 31-June 1, programmers were asked to seek a solution to this public pain point. The goal? To develop a real-world app that can help Hillsborough County residents and businesses navigate traffic more effectively.

Using transportation information provided by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) and  Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, participants worked together to build innovative new software applications. Data from local startup Carvoyant, a "connected car'' system that tracks driver data and allows software developers to connect apps, was also available. Around 15 programmers stopped in to code during the Hack-a-thon, while others worked remotely, said Hillsborough County Economic Development Manager Stephanie Ashley.

Teams built three applications using the available transportation data: one dealing with real time HART bus information and route scheduling; one focused on government communications; and one dealing with environmental reporting. "As for the winner, all agreed that it was the HART bus application. It was the most complete and well done,'' said Ashley. The project is capable of running on Windows, Apple, Linux, Android and iPhone.

An environmentally focused project created by a father-daughter team also stood out, Ashley said. The team is invited to attend Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners chairman Mark Sharpe's weekly meetings held at 9 a.m. on Fridays at  Buddy Brew Coffee near downtown Tampa.

In a show of solidarity among local technophiles, Ashley said the programmers voted unanimously to split prize money equally between the teams. The Tampa Hack-a-thon, which debuted in 2013 with about 75 local attendees, combined forces with Intel-backed  National Day of Civic Hacking for the first time in 2014 to put on the Hillsborough Hack-a-thon.

In other transportation news, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa/St. Pete) announced on Monday, June 2 that HART received a $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation toward a high-speed ferry service proposed to run between downtown Tampa, St. Petersburg, Gibsonton, and MacDill Air Force Base. Another $12 million is necessary to complete the project, but the grant is a significant boost for the proposed public-private ferry service.


Article courtesty of


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Planes, trains, & autos under one roof  

Article by Alfonso Chardy, courtesy of Neuvo Herald. 


Now that the Port Miami tunnel has been dedicated and the reversible toll lanes on Interstate 595 have opened, a third major South Florida transportation project is headed toward completion.


The massive Miami Intermodal Center, just east of Miami International Airport, is expected to be ready in the fall when its last remaining component - the Miami Central Station - officially opens.

Known as the MIC, the transit center is the costliest of the three projects, with a price tag of $2 billion, followed by $1.8 billion for the reconstruction of the reversible lanes on I-595 and $1 billion for the under-the-bay tunnel.


"The Miami Intermodal Center will become the county's main transportation hub," said Gus Pego, head of the Florida Department of Transportation's Miami office. "If you're a resident or a tourist, the MIC allows for a safe, efficient and seamless connection for either regional and interstate travel by all modes of transportation: air, Metrorail, Metrobus, automobile or bike."


Once the MIC is fully operational, a traveler could board a bus in Florida City, travel north on the South Miami-Dade Busway, transfer to Metrorail at Dadeland and head to the hub on the Orange Line to the airport. Then that traveler could take a Tri-Rail commuter train to West Palm Beach, an Amtrak long-distance train to New York or a transatlantic flight to Paris - all from the MIC.


Some South Florida residents are already using the MIC to connect between transit services. Natasha Orozco López boarded a bus in Homestead Thursday and traveled the busway to Dadeland where she boarded the Metrorail to the MIC, where she met a friend from Brazil. "This is a great transportation hub," said Orozco López, who was traveling through the MIC. "I came here from Homestead. I got on the bus and then Metrorail and got off here to get to the airport."


Connecting all major transportation services in Miami-Dade County in a single hub is the central goal of MIC planners. Those transportation modes include airplanes, rental cars, intercity and local bus services, as well as commuter, heavy-rail and long-distance trains.  The transportation hub is not technically part of Miami International Airport, but serves as a satellite terminal because it is just east of the airfield and a few blocks from LeJeune Road. It is also connected to the airport via an automated train known as the MIA Mover. The mover allows arriving airline passengers to use the MIC to get to the car rental center or trains and buses - without ever having to step outside the hub area.


This is how planners conceived operations at the MIC since the idea formed in the early 1980s. That's when county officials realized they needed "connectivity" among transportation services so people in communities in southern and western Miami-Dade could get to their downtown jobs easily and quickly, not just in Miami but also Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. But it wasn't until 2001 that construction began on an improved roadway system around the MIC and on the first major component.


The car rental center gathered in one, safe location instead of having the various companies scattered in an area east of the airport, not far from where the MIC now rises. The center was the first major MIC component, opening in July 2010. One of the benefits of the new center was easing of what once had been perennial traffic congestion on the airport roads where passengers are dropped off and picked up. The center's opening eliminated the need for multiple shuttle buses that circulated on those airport roads to pick up or drop off car rental customers, MIC public affairs manager Ric Katz said.


Initially, individual rental car company shuttle buses were consolidated into one. But that shared bus service also ended when the MIA Mover went into operation in September 2011. The MIA Mover is the automated elevated train that runs between airport terminals and the MIC.


The next major component to open marked a milestone in transit services in Miami-Dade County. The new Metrorail MIA station, which started service in July 2012, serves as the starting point for the first new line for the county's heavy-rail system that began operations 30 years ago with a single line. The Orange Line, which runs from MIA to the Dadeland South station, is now one of Metrorail's most popular services with international travelers and airport employees among its main users.


Still to come: the rest of the Miami Central Station, considered the MIC's crown jewel.


It will serve as Miami-Dade's first all-inclusive ground transportation hub. Located east of the Rental Car Center, the MCS will feature grade level tracks for Tri-Rail, Amtrak, intercity and future high-speed rail service. Metrobus and Metrorail's Orange Line MIA stations are also part of the new facility, with construction nearly complete, Katz said.


A major glitch in the construction, discovered and eventually fixed, marred the MCS project.


In January 2013, FDOT acknowledged that it learned only after construction had begun that the platform that will serve Amtrak at the MCS was about 200 feet too short, meaning that some trains would jut north into busy Northwest 25th Street. FDOT, which based the design on erroneous information from Amtrak, at first considered permanently closing the street and rerouting traffic. But FDOT officials eventually discarded that option after Miami-Dade Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa objected and business and property owners on 25th Street complained.


FDOT eventually settled on the cheapest solution: keeping 25th Street open, but with the caveat that it will close for up to 45 minutes twice a day during peak seasons when long Amtrak trains arrive. To reroute traffic when the delays occur, FDOT agreed to build two short new streets in the area to provide alternate routes.


Meanwhile, FDOT is negotiating an agreement with the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority - whose headquarters are located across from the MIC - to manage the facility.


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In this Issue
Imagine 2040 : Part 2
$1.3B TIP adopted
Fowler Ave resurfacing
Vulnerability assessment
Automated Vehicles
Port expansion
HART Public Hearing
Miami Intermodal Center




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