Issue 17      


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

July 2015  


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MPO and CUTR awarded grant   


Social justice in transportation investments is demonstrated when transportation costs and benefits are equally shared by all segments of society. The topic will get a fresh look in Hillsborough County, as the Hillsborough MPO and the Portland, Oregon MPO partner in a project proposed by USF's local Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), to study how transportation-related benefits and costs are shared by all residents. Factoring in are things such as average travel time, access to jobs, bus service availability, crash rates, and air quality. The National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) selected this project as one of only 14 grant award recipients across the country this year.     


"We look forward to working with CUTR in the coming year to address how transportation contributes to a better community for all," said MPO Executive Director Beth Alden. The grant award is anticipated in the fall of 2015. To be notified of the study's progress, please send your contact information to Michele Ogilvie,, and stay tuned for future issues of MPO news.


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atmsTampa's traffic signals going high tech 


As a result of federal funding prioritized by the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of Tampa will roll out high-tech solutions to traffic congestion and crashes starting this fall. This Advanced Traffic Management System or ATMS uses fiber communications, CCTV cameras, and advanced controllers to provide for more reliable and efficient traffic flow.


City traffic engineer Vik Bhide recently briefed the MPO's advisory committees highlighting the benefits of the new ATMS, including:

  • Replacing antiquated 30-year old equipment at 535 citywide
  • Real-time traffic data and video, enabling traffic engineers to detect and respond to incidents more quickly
  • Ability to vary signal timing for special events like hockey games and Gasparilla festivities
  • Compatibility with State and County traffic management centers and HART's MetroRapid technology

The system will also provide driver information via dynamic message signs, enable emergency vehicles to preempt signals, and allow longer green time for some transit buses and lengthen pedestrian crossing times an many locations. Mr. Bhide said the system will save time and fuel for drivers and shippers. He compared it to Hillsborough County's system, which is expected to produce time and fuel savings worth up to $122 million per year.


The City will begin deploying the ATMS later this year in the Westshore district. Later phases will take place in downtown Tampa, West Kennedy Boulevard, Hyde Park, Dale Mabry Highway, Busch Boulevard and in the University area. The City expects all ATMS phases will be installed within the next five years. For more information contact Rich Clarendon at


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One voice on top regional priorities    


What happens when representatives from eight counties, six MPOs and two FDOT districts meet to discuss which transportation projects to fund next? Cynics might predict squabbling over parochial concerns would trump regional needs, but they would be wrong.  


Defying such predictions, elected officials and agency heads from across West Central Florida came together in May. Meeting as the MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee (CCC), they spoke with one voice about the region's top priorities. Leaders agreed to fund a handful of regionally significant projects under the Transportation Regional Incentive Program (TRIP), established by the Florida Legislature to encourage projects benefiting regional travel. For Hillsborough County, these include:

  • 25 new vans to expand TBARTA's regional vanpool program
  • A regional transit farebox project that will enable riders to travel seamlessly across Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk counties using one fare card
  • Tampa's Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS; see separate article above)
  • A similar ATMS project on N Dale Mabry Hwy from Sligh Ave to Van Dyke Rd
  • Widening and rebuilding interchanges on I-275 from the Howard Frankland Bridge to downtown Tampa
  • Completing the expansion of Bruce B Downs Blvd to 8 lanes from Pebble Creek Dr to Pasco County

The CCC also agreed on priorities for regional multi-use trails. The top priority is completing the remaining part of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail, which would connect to the Suncoast Trail in northwestern Hillsborough County. Rounding out the regional trail priorities in Hillsborough County are the South Tampa Greenway from the Gandy Bridge to Bayshore Blvd and the By-pass Canal Trail from Fletcher Ave/Morris Bridge Rd to 50th St. These projects will compete for federal and state funding set aside for non-motorized facilities.


Focusing on our tri-county metropolitan area, the Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area (TMA) Leadership Group, consisting of board members from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas MPOs, met in June. The TMA Leadership Group aspires to speak with one voice to secure funding from the Florida Strategic Intermodal System program, US DOT's TIGER and New Starts/Small Starts programs, and other grants awarded by Tallahassee or Washington, DC. The group agreed that the top projects in our metro area include:

  • Tampa Bay Express (TBX) project, phase 1, adding dynamically-priced express lanes and inter-county express bus service to:
    • I-275 from south of Bearss Ave to St Petersburg, including the Downtown and SR 60 interchanges
    • I-4 from Downtown Tampa to Polk County
    • I-75, from Fowler Ave to SR 674
  • Westshore Multimodal Center, and transit connections to Downtown Tampa and TIA
  • US 41/CSX Corridor joint use for passenger and freight rail service from Tampa to Pasco, Pinellas, and Hernando Counties
  • Regional farebox project (described above)
  • Duke Energy Multi-use Trail in Pinellas County

Last but not least, the TMA Leadership Group concurred with a consolidated list of priorities under the "Transportation Alternatives" program, which funds bicycle and pedestrian projects. In Hillsborough County, the priorities include:

  • Sidewalk connections for safer walking routes to Stowers Elementary, Barrow Middle, Summerfield Elementary, Eisenhower Middle, Cypress Creek Elementary, Shields Middle, Nelson Elementary and River Elementary schools
  • "Complete Street" treatments on Columbus Dr from Nebraska Ave to 14th St and on Floribraska Ave from Florida Ave to Nebraska Ave
  • Walk/bike safety improvements on 46th St from Busch Blvd to Fowler Ave and on Rome Ave from W Kennedy Blvd to Columbus Dr
For more information, contact Gena Torres at

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Walk-about, drive-about a roundabout 


The Livable Roadways Committee (LRC) had their interest piqued about modern roundabouts during a recent presentation highlighting their significant safety benefits. Excited by statistics like the greater than 90% reduction in fatalities, the LRC graciously accepted the presenter's offer of a tour to experience local roundabouts firsthand.


Committee members, MPO staff, and other local planners joined tour guide Ken Sides of Sam Schwartz Engineering on a bus provided by Hillsborough County's Sunshine Line to experience how roundabout design encourages drivers to voluntarily slow down.During the walk-about portion of the tour at the roundabout at 40th St in East Tampa, the group observed people travel safely navigating the intersection with ease including the tour bus, pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and trucks. LRC member Arizona Jenkins safely and comfortably explored the "walk-about" in his motorized wheelchair and brought another perspective while increasing awareness for everyone.


The roundabout tour gave the group much to talk about, as it were, commenting on how they felt less vulnerable as pedestrians crossing the modern roundabout compared to traditional intersections. They enjoyed the value-added, beautiful design details like the textured crosswalk materials with palm tree design and the landscaped obelisk in the center of the roundabout at 21st St and 23rd Ave.  


For more details on the safety and other benefits such as reduced congestion, pollution, and fuel use, additional cost savings and community value of modern roundabouts see the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) website.


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GoHillsYour community transportation plan has arrived


In the next 25 years, more than 1.8 million people will call Hillsborough County home. As it stands, today's transportation system is struggling to keep up with current demands and current financial resources are already committed. In order to compete for jobs with other communities of our size, we need to invest in transportation and mobility solutions that encourage and help build a vibrant quality of life.

The Transportation for Economic Development (TED) Policy Leadership Group - all seven County Commissioners, the Mayors of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City, as well as the HART Board Chair - has been meeting with transportation and economic development experts over the past year.  Discussing important transportation issues and transportation needs to enhance our ability to attract new jobs to Hillsborough County, the leaders are working on solutions to better connect residents and visitors to places they want and need to go. 


On June 12, they met to discuss a proposed Community Transportation Plan, designed to:

  • Fix and maintain existing roads
  • Relieve traffic flow, congestion, and intersection bottlenecks
  • Build and widen roads
  • Double transit service, including bus rapid transit (BRT), flex and express bus services, and develop a modernized streetcar through downtown Tampa and on to the airport and/or USF
  • Make walking and biking safer

The proposed plan includes fifteen recommendations to achieve these:


Employ a transportation plan with a specific funding strategy   

Rather than a full percent, place a percent Local Option Transportation Sales Tax referendum on the November

2016 election ballot
  • creating $117.5 million annually

Limit the authorization of the percent Local Option Transportation Sales Tax to 30-year sunset


  • creating $3.5 billion of local revenue
  • this time frame is necessary to best enable securing state, federal, and other grants and funding sources, providing the ability to leverage additional and significant revenue beyond what is generated by the sales tax
  • based upon a conservative estimate of federal, state and other matching funds available across the categories listed, percent may reasonably leverage an additional $881 million dollars (25 percent) over 30 years
  • provide the ability to fully address maintenance needs and to implement road improvements and transit

Working across jurisdictional boundaries to ensure community balance and fairness, new revenue should target a two-third/

one-third split between maintenance and roads to transit, and: 

  • fund backlog and future maintenance program at 100%
  • fund sidewalk and bike safety program at 100%
  • equally split remaining new revenue between transit and road projects
  • consider specific project lists in three successive 10-year increments - projects funded in the initial 10-year period will be finalized in the next few months following community engagement, including HART's 2015 Transit Development Plan, jurisdictional review, and before the approval of placing the referendum on the ballot

The County and Cities' allocation should be based on the State of Florida's Sales Tax Distribution Formula for Local

Governments, with HART receiving a 25% allocation to ensure that they reach a service level that is at least two times their current transit service  


Hillsborough County must ensure new growth pays an increased and equitable share of its impact on transportation by preparing an ordinance to go into effect simultaneously with a percent Local Option Transportation Sales Tax. Further, we recommend a strong consideration of employment of a mobility fee land use tool that incentivizes development and redevelopment in urban areas that can fund multi-modal projects

  • this facilitates a better nexus between land use and transportation planning as we continue to grow

Establish a dedicated maintenance fund program and codify maintenance policies in conjunction with all of the local

jurisdictions. Additionally, develop and publish annual resurfacing project rankings, so the citizens know where roads of interest stand in priority and when improvements will occur


Working across jurisdictional boundaries and in partnership with HART and other agencies, including FDOT and THEA, the City of Tampa should contribute at least 10% of their percent allocation toward co-funding the modernization of the streetcar or other premium transit service, ensuring interconnections among employment, commercial, and entertainment centers   


Working across jurisdictional boundaries and in partnership with HART and other agencies, including FDOT and THEA, Hillsborough County should contribute at least 10% to BRT within the unincorporated County, ensuring interconnections among employment, commercial, and entertainment centers 


Working across jurisdictional boundaries and in partnership with HART, and other agencies, including FDOT and

THEA, Plant City should contribute at least 10% of their percent allocation toward co-funding express bus and

circulator service to, from, and within Plant City, ensuring interconnections among employment, commercial, and

entertainment centers

Working across jurisdictional boundaries and in partnership with HART and other agencies, including FDOT and THEA, Temple Terrace should contribute at least 10% of their percent allocation toward co-funding BRT and/or express bus services to, from, and within Temple Terrace, ensuring interconnections among employment, commercial, and entertainment centers


Beginning in late summer, conduct additional community engagement to solicit further citizen input and to prioritize

the initial 10-year list of specific projects for the referendum - similar to the previous community outreach, this additional 

community engagement should include 12 community meetings and website/social media tools

Continue to build public trust, confidence, and accountability by creating processes that allow citizens to be notified and updated 

as specific projects are planned, changed, updated, and/or completed

Hillsborough County, all of the Cities, and HART should realign and finalize prioritized project lists with other appropriate transportation agencies to further improve traffic flow, bottlenecks, and transit as well as plan for congestion relieving economic development and future projects across jurisdictions



Develop and implement policies regarding alternative forms of transportation and new transportation technologies, such as

improved transit, automated control vehicles, private provision transportation services, and tolling

Please read the full findings and recommendations. Be sure to send GOHillsborough your feedback by either email or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.












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Orient Road PD&E Study 


Orient Road connects Sabal Park, Net Park Tampa Bay, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Tampa Bay Tech, King High School, and many other employers and destinations. The area around it was identified as a key economic space earlier in the Transportation for Economic Development (see article) study process. 


This fiscal year, Hillsborough County is conducting a Project Development and Engineering (PD&E) study to explore feasibility and cost. It will also determine if the widening of Orient Road from south of Broadway Ave to north of Hillsborough Ave furthers options to include adding two through lanes; bicycle lanes, sidewalks, curb and gutter, and medians. For more information contact Richard Sanders, Hillsborough County Public Works Department at 


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FDOT hosts Florida Transportation Plan workshop on September 2nd 


The Florida Transportation Plan (FTP) establishes long range goals to provide a policy framework for expenditure of federal and state transportation funds in Florida. Every five years, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) takes the lead in updating this plan to respond to new trends and challenges to meet the future mobility needs of Florida's residents, visitors and businesses.


Florida's transportation system supports the nation's 4th largest economy and 3rd largest population, provides 540,000 jobs, and directly affects our daily lives. In previous workshops, FDOT asked where do we want to go; it's now time to talk about how we get there.



These workshops provided an opportunity for Floridians to offer their thoughts about the state's transportation at all levels - statewide, regional, and local. Please attend to share your thoughts about Florida's long-range transportation policy, goals, and objectives.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015


FDOT District 7 Auditorium

11201 N. Malcolm McKinley Drive

Tampa, Florida 33612

1:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Please join the conversation and

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Special session buzz

Florida State Capital  

Negotiations over the state budget required a special session of the legislature which convened June 1-20. Transportation was a point of alignment between the Senate and House, which had similar funding levels for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) at approximately $10 billion. The FDOT work program's major projects in Hillsborough were reviewed and approved by the MPO last month in anticipation of a successful budget session.


During the special session, legislators agreed to fund $191 million of rail improvement grants, specifying that $10 million of that money must be used to upgrade rail corridors with new safety features robust enough that trains running through the area wouldn't be required to use their horns. The Senate and the House also agreed on SunTrail (State multi-Use, Non-motorized Trails) to receive a $17 million allocation from the State Transportation Trust Fund.


Other line items in the budget approved by Senate and House included $600,000 for a rapid bus transit feasibility study in Hillsborough County, and $1 million to assist the Tampa Innovation Alliance with master planning in the greater USF area. Both of those items were later vetoed by Governor Scott. 


A proposal to give the legislature more fine-grained control over FDOT's $10 billion work program died during the special session. The FDOT program specifies how much funding will be allocated to each state-funded transportation project during the next five years. House-crafted language that was floated during final budget negotiations would have required a vote by the Legislative Budget Commission, a panel of House and Senate members, for any changes totaling more than $3 million.


In Washington, DC, as revenues from the 18-cent per gallon federal gas tax continue to decline against inflation and fuel efficiency, the US Congressional Budget Office has estimated that an additional $85-$90 billion in funding from general revenues will be needed just to maintain current programs over the next six years to supplement the gas tax. The silver lining is that congress voted to extend the federal transportation funding authorization known as Map-21 through the end of July.

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ePublications & eNews from our agency are always associated with an email address ending in:


In this Issue
Social Justice grant
High tech traffic signals
One voice on regional priorities
Roundabout tour
GoHillsborogh results
Orient Road PD&E
FDOT transportation plan
Special session buzz

Upcoming Meetings & Events 

ITS Committee
July 9, 2015

MPO TAC Committee
July 20, 2015

MPO Board &
TIP Public Hearing
August 4, 2015

Special time & place
5:30 PM
County Center  
26th Floor

Full MPO calendar   





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Florida's Turnpike Enterprise Construction 




Transportation for Economic Development  




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