Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mitch Perry Report 5.20.14: New Hillsborough County Transit report — more of the same?

Posted By on Tue, May 20, 2014 at 8:45 AM

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Over a year ago, a leadership group was formed in Hillsborough County to deal with transit issues unresolved In the wake of the county's failed transit tax referendum in 2010.

Now a report has surfaced from the group, officially known as Transportation for Economic Development in Hillsborough County, that emphasizes — surprise! — building more roads.

Under the category of "Short Term Wins," the report proposes 55 intersection improvements, but just a single BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) project, along with 11 miles of bike and pedestrian trails.

Under the category of "Long Term Wins," there are 29 road expansion projects, along with 17 BRT routes and the possibility of light rail and high-speed ferry.

County Administrator Mike Merrill tells the Tampa Tribune that the list is shaped as such in terms of timeliness. “It’s a recognition that some projects can be done sooner that will have a material effect on congestion,” Merrill told the paper's Mike Salinero. “Just taking care of those 55 intersections, you get a pretty quick and positive impact on congestion, as well as with intelligent traffic solutions.”

How did the county administrator get to be in charge of the plan? That's what Tampa City Council member Lisa Montelione is wondering, at least if her tweet sent overnight is any indication. This group meets again next week.

Also coming out of these discussions: the possibility that the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit agency (HART) could take on a bigger role in coordinating transit. Because of that possibility, the chances that the agency will select a full-time replacement to succeed Phillip Hale are on hold, meaning interim CEO Katharine Eagan will have plenty of time to prove her value over the rest of 2014.

Adrian Wyllie is an interesting character. He's running for governor in Florida this year, hoping to be the Libertarian Party nominee.

And the anger among some conservatives in Florida over Common Core is making them lose common sense. Or did you not hear what Florida House Republican Charles Van Zant had to say about what these new education standards would do to our children? 

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