Iorio: It’s Train Time For Tampa – Part 1

Tampa Bay area officials urged to plan now for mass transit projects
By Janet Zink, Times staff writer
In print: Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TAMPA — Now is the time for the Tampa Bay area to come forward with mass transit plans, U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, told Hillsborough County leaders Tuesday.
Mica, Republican leader of the House Transportation Committee, said that with Congress set to complete an update of its five-year transportation funding bill next fall and President-elect Obama pledging to invest in infrastructure to stimulate the economy, the region can’t waste time getting together its funding requests for rail and other mass transit projects.

“I’m a right-wing conservative fiscal Republican,” he said. “But I am adamant about public transportation, public transit. If you look at the issues that we face, the economy, nothing creates jobs like infrastructure projects.”
Rail and other public works projects are expensive, he said.
But he thinks the Obama administration may be open-minded about providing government guarantees for private investment in those projects.

“The Bush administration has been very myopic about financing,” Mica said.
The bay area is one of only three of the country’s 27 largest metropolitan areas without light rail, Mica said. Meanwhile, other cities are spending billions of dollars to expand their systems.
“It’s almost embarrassing to have parts of Florida without modern transportation systems,” he said. “What I need is everybody on the same page, everybody coming forward with their proposals.”

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority hopes to have its seven-county transportation plan complete early next year.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who attended Mica’s briefing, would like the first leg of the region’s rail system to run from the University of South Florida to downtown Tampa. She is pushing to get a referendum on a 1-cent sales tax to pay for it on the 2010 ballot.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

[Last modified: Nov 25, 2008 11:46 PM]
http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/masstransit/article917375.ece

Oh, the joys of blogging!

Just look at the many things you’ll find by going to the TampaBLAB (by the way, it means Tampa Bay Local Area Bloggers). Anyways, as cyberspace becomes more advanced each day, more businesses, and even government agencies, are jumping onto the blogging bandwagon. Well today, I found that TBARTA has a page on Twitter, another social networking rival of MySpace. For those of you who want to check it out, click here.

And if you’re wondering what blog I found this Twitter page on, click this link, then scroll down a bit. You’ll see the post.

Iorio: It’s Train Time For Tampa – A summary

This post will begin a series in my blog dealing with the lack of rail in Tampa Bay. As some of you might already know, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio has been pushing a 1 cent sales tax to fund the project and hopes to get it to a public vote by 2010. But there’s tons of opposition at this point, so you can expect this will have an uphill battle.

Here’s a link to a Bay News 9 story that I previously had posted.

What do you think should be done to get light rail to Tampa? Should the city/county try to push a special tax to fund the rail system? Vote now in my latest poll, then post a comment about whether a tax should be implemented and if so, what kind of tax? Gas tax? Sales tax?