Transit eNews of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

and its Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board (TDCB) 

Issue 17 | September 2015


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In this Issue

Upcoming Events

September 4 - 7

Visit the Hillsborough MPO, Planning Commission,
Florida's Largest Home Show Labor Day Weekend 2015

Check out a CNG HARTflex bus & weigh in on the HART TDP!

See a TBARTA commuter van and learn about your commuting choices!

Comment on the
Imagine2040 Vision!
Get the details on Florida's Largest Home show at:

October 23
9:30 am
Meeting of the
Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board

For additional meetings, details, and agenda packets (available one week prior to each meeting), visit: 

MPO Meeting Calendar 

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We've got a list... and transit's on it!      

The MPO's Transportation Improvement Program is a list of transportation projects to be funded over the next five years. There are so many transportation needs in our county that a priority list helps direct the limited money available and helps us keep track of how well we're doing at reaching goals set in our Long Range Plan, like reducing crashes, replacing aging buses, having reliable travel times during rush hour, and having more people closer to better trails and bus service.
The latest list of priorities includes projects to make our traffic signals work better, to make walking and cycling safer, to widen roads, AND a number of projects to make taking transit easier and more efficient.

Transit priorities include:   
  • Maintaining current bus service - $4 million for bus replacements and converting the fleet to cleaner, compressed-natural-gas-fueled vehicles
  • East-West Metro Rapid - $30 million requested from the New Starts grant programs to build HART's second Metro Rapid line running from the airport to Temple Terrace
  • Modern Streetcar Extension - a design & engineering phase for the future connection through the Downtown core to Marion Transit Center
  • Additional Metro Rapid Corridors - funding for a project development & environmental study for the next Metro Rapid, which could run on Kennedy Blvd, Brandon Blvd, Bruce B Downs Blvd, Dale Mabry Hwy, or Busch Blvd

A number of walk-bike projects were also prioritized, which can improve access to the bus system from neighborhoods and destinations.


It takes time, but we're getting there... on transit.

HART Transit Development Plan  

HART's Transit Development Plan (TDP) is a 10-year plan that guides transit funding to serve the mobility needs of those traveling in and around Hillsborough County. This plan undergoes a major update every five years, with annual updates in between.
This year, the TDP update reflects a partnership with Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City to help create the GO Hillsborough Community Transportation Plan. The TDP update is made up of an Action Plan listing the HART projects based on status quo funding. It also describes the HART component of the GO Hillsborough plan that factors in an additional funding of $30 million per year.

With GO Hillsborough, HART will be able to add 5 new express routes, 9 new flex circulators, and 5 new regional Park-n-Rides, along with many frequency improvements on current routes. Even in the scenario that does not include additional funds, the Action Plan incorporates many of the requests heard during GO Hillsborough public engagement, including enhanced and new service in several parts of the county, new or better Saturday and Sunday service, and even a Night Owl route from midnight to 5am! 

Details on both the Action Plan and the HART Component of the GO Hillsborough Plan will available at a series of Open Houses that have been scheduled throughout Hillsborough County.

GO Hillsborough   

Citizens of Hillsborough have spoken loud and clear when asked what concerns they have about the future of the county... transportation! GO Hillsborough explores the possibility of what additional funding could do to make moving about the county easier and safer.

Not one solution alone will solve our varied transportation challenges, that is why the GO Hillsborough Community Transportation Plan includes over 300 community road, intersection, trail, sidewalk, asset preservation and maintenance programs... and aims to double the transit service we see today.

Those roadway projects will complement the improvements to transit service: new express routes, park-n-rides, several flex circulator routes, the streetcar extension though the Downtown core, a rail connection to Westshore/Airport area, and a handful of new MetroRapid routes.

The community is asked to once again participate, this time in finalizing the Community Transportation Plan and its projects for the next 10 years. Public meetings are scheduled at libraries throughout the county and cities during both day and evening hours, including several Saturday mornings. The meetings will run through mid-October 2015.


MPO and HART Board member, County Commission Chair Sandy Murman, encourages everyone to get involved by attending an upcoming GO Hillsborough meeting, "It is critical that we hear from our citizens as we develop specific projects and a funding strategy for our transportation future."

Find out more on meeting locations and others ways to provide your valued comments. 

Lopano named Aviation Professional of the Year!   

Each year, the Florida Department of Transportation recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to Florida aviation. In July, we learned that the prestigious award of Aviation Professional of the Year was given to MPO Board Member and Hillsborough Aviation Authority's CEO, Joe Lopano.

Mr. Lopano's contribution to the world of transportation starts locally and reaches across the world. The impact of his vision is felt when visiting Tampa International Airport's new car rental facility, people mover and updated concessions. And now there are nonstop flights to Switzerland, Panama, Cuba, and soon Germany.

The MPO Board and staff continue to appreciate Mr. Lopano's valuable input during MPO meetings and are honored to have this award-winning member on the MPO Board.

Quality of Life Services program    

Family reunions! Concerts! Beach getaways! These activities bring joy to our lives and we look forward to jumping in our cars with loved ones on our way to experience these memory-making times. Now picture yourself unable to drive - whether due to age or disability. Unless there is a convenient bus route, your options are limited to asking friends (if you're wheelchair bound, asking someone with an equipped van) or more often than not, turning down the invitation.

In Hillsborough County there are services for medical trips and some service for all of the other reasons we would want to leave our homes. Yet when non-medical trips are permitted, it's typically only for the qualified rider and to only one destination. Taxi-services can get pricey especially if multiple trips are needed and the distances are long.

But not any longer! Quality of Life Community Services picks up where other services fall short. That is why MPO Livable Roadways Committee member, Arizona Jenkins, praises Quality of Life Community Services:

"I was able to travel to a Tampa Bay Rays game and see The Mavericks in Clearwater's Capitol Theatre with up to four of my friends... for $2!"

Arizona is confined to a motorized wheelchair but that isn't holding him back from having an active and fun filled life in and outside of Hillsborough County. He's more on the go than most of us! Arizona explained the ease of making appointments which can be difficult via telephone for someone with a speech impediment. Instead, you can simply email the address and time for pickup, how many people are traveling with you, and where you would like to go.

This well-named service is certainly improving the Quality of Life for seniors and those with disabilities. Learn more about Quality of Life and if you qualify for their services.

TBX Express Bus  

Over the last year, the Hillsborough MPO in partnership with FDOT, and in coordination with Pasco and Pinellas MPOs, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, Pinellas Suncoast Transit and Pasco County Public Transportation, collaborated to study if operating premium express buses within the Tampa Bay Express (TBX) lanes would be feasible.

Having more people on an express bus would maximizing the capacity, or the number of people traveling, in the TBX Lanes.  It also would provide an option to driving when making connections to and from Wesley Chapel, downtown Tampa, Westshore, Greater Gateway, and downtown St. Petersburg.  These places house regional business districts and multi-modal centers benefitting Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties. And the regional benefits are complemented by adding to local transit plans making express bus service a win-win.
The report can be found at the MPO projects page.

HART CEO nominated for 2015 White House Champion of Change

Hillsborough's own Katharine Eagan, Chief Executive Officer of HART, has been nominated for the White House Champion of Change in the category Beyond Traffic: Innovators in TransportationMs. Eagan is being considered for this celebrated award because of her dedication to providing safe, innovative, and high-quality transit services in Hillsborough County.

Since officially taking over the helm of HART for just over a year, partnerships have grown stronger thanks to Ms. Eagan's effective communication skills, analytic abilities and infectious energy that drives her organization to outstanding results. Let's stay tuned in October 2015 to find out if our local leader will add White House Champion of Change to her long list of accomplishments.

Good luck, Ms. Eagan. We're rooting for you!

HART appoints Gregory Brackin Director of Operations and ADA Support    

HART is pleased to announce the return of Gregory Brackin to the Operations staff. Mr. Brackin assumed the duties as Director of Operations Support and ADA Officer. His responsibilities will included Customer Service, ADA HARTPlus Certification, and special projects for the Authority. Current projects include HARTplus Customer Choice Voucher Pilot Program, First and Last Mile Pilot Program, and Regional Revenue Collection and Inter-Jurisdictional Mobility Project.

Mr. Brackin previously was employed with HART from 1994 through 2008 in a variety of positions, with the last being Operations Manager. During his absence from HART, he served as General Manager of Transdev for Gwinnett County Transit in Norcross, GA. Mr. Brackin brings over 25 years of transit experience to HART. He also served in the U.S. Army at West Point, New York.

4 benefits public transportation gives students    

Enjoy this ABC Action News feature on how students can benefit from using public transportation.

Hurricane season important reminders   
Hurricane Evacuation

Hurricane season is not yet over. Residents with special needs, the elderly, and those without transportation require extra attention in order to stay safe during a tropical storm or hurricane. Hillsborough County has programs in place to help these residents prepare and find safe shelter.

It's never too late to get prepared! Read more.

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