TAMPA — The state's revamped proposal to expand interstates in Hillsborough County got one of its first public vettings on Monday.
Earlier this year, the Florida Department of Transportation reopened a federal study looking at the state's vision to add express toll lanes along Interstates 275 and 4. The move came after the department's previous plan for the area, known as Tampa Bay Express, faced significant community backlash. The DOT later scrapped the plan and replaced it with a new initiative, Tampa Bay Next. ...
10/09/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Bus riders in Hillsborough County are trying to figure out the new bus system that launched this weekend.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority flipped to an entirely new network at 4 a.m. Sunday, as part of "MissionMax," — a complete overhaul of the agency's sprawling system, changing stops, times and routes on which people have come to depend.
Sunday was a test run of sorts. But by Monday morning, the 43,000 people who typically ride the bus on weekdays were trying to make sense of new route maps and transfer points....
10/09/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Sunday was a day of questions and long waits as riders tried to figure out the new bus system that launched this weekend in Hillsborough County.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority flipped to an entirely new network at 4 a.m. Sunday, as part of MissionMax — a complete overhaul of the agency's sprawling system. Sunday was a test run of sorts, as weekend ridership is lower than the 43,000 people who typically ride the bus on a weekday....
10/06/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Something feels different about transportation discussions lately, local leaders say.
It was highlighted at a Cafe Con Tampa event Friday morning where representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation's local office and Hillsborough's bus agency spoke together about plans for transit in Tampa Bay.
The two agencies have partnered on a two-year study to identify a plausible transit solution for the region. DOT paid for the $1.5 million study that the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority is overseeing....
Two first-time political candidates hope to replace term-limited council member Jim Kennedy, a Democrat who has served since being appointed in 2007. District 2 covers most of northeastern St. Petersburg up to Feather Sound, the Gateway and Gandy areas.
About the job: City Council members serve four-year terms on the eight-seat board and earn $44,452 annually.
10/06/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Elsie Strong, 84, uses a wheelchair and public buses to go to her monthly cancer treatments.
For the past decade, the Town 'N Country resident has relied on Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority buses for everything from doctor's appointments to errands to eating lunch at Village Inn.
Starting Sunday, her life will get harder.
HART is overhauling its entire network, altering the routes Strong takes every day. Stops will move. Times will change. Some routes will disappear altogether as Hillsborough's bus agency streamlines its sprawling bus system to adjust to hard financial realities....
10/05/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Hillsborough's bus agency is offering free trips on Sunday and Monday to ease the transition as riders try to navigate the redesigned network launching this weekend.
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority has completely restructured its system, cutting about a third of its routes and adding a few new ones. HART says the smaller system — dropping from 41 routes to 34 — should improve service for about 80 percent of riders....
TAMPA — Plans for the Howard Frankland Bridge have changed yet again.
The Florida Department of Transportation announced Monday that it now plans to build an eight-lane bridge, complete with a bike and pedestrian trail, to replace the northbound span of the Howard Frankland. That part of the bridge, built in 1960, is old and needs to be replaced.
DOT expects the new bridge to open by 2024, local DOT secretary David Gwynn said....
09/29/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — A light rail line could one day run alongside Interstate 275 from Wesley Chapel, to the University of South Florida to Tampa, before crossing the bay to St. Petersburg.
That project was identified as the highest-ranking regional transit option during Friday's update on an ongoing study that aims to bring transit to Tampa Bay. Planners also highlighted five other transit projects they deemed most likely succeed in the region. ...
09/27/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Hillsborough's transit board is closer to launching its revamped bus network after approving a 2018 budget and tax rate earlier this week.
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority voted Monday to keep the property tax rate the same at 50 cents per $1,000, a total of $100 for the owner of a home valued for tax purposes at $200,000.
The board has not raised property taxes, a major source of income for the transit authority, since 2012. HART chairman and County Commissioner Les Miller proposed raising the rate earlier this year but got little support from fellow board members....
TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.
Florida Department of Transportation officials told about 50 people at a meeting Monday that the controversial express toll lanes previously planned north of downtown are not a part of most options for the I-275 and Interstate 4 interchange....
TAMPA — New concepts for rebuilding the downtown interchange will be discussed at a Florida Department of Transportation community meeting Monday night.
Local DOT officials plan to share ideas for the interchange during the second community working group session for downtown and east Tampa that will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk, 111 W Fortune St.
The working groups are part of Tampa Bay Next, the department's overhaul of its highly criticized Tampa Bay Express toll road program....
ST. PETERSBURG — City Council candidate Brandi Gabbard looks at details and the long-term consequences when evaluating political decisions.
“There’s so many times in these huge policies that there’s an unintended consequence layer that lives underneath,” Gabbard said.
She said she’s seen it with the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act and the huge increases many Pinellas County residents experienced. And she’s seeing it again now with the city’s discussion of mandatory solar panels for new roofs....
As the fourth day after Hurricane Irma stretched on, a fifth of the state remained without lights or air conditioning as energy companies worked to restore one of the largest power outages in the country's history.
As of 9 p.m. Thursday, about 2.1 million customers still didn't have power — down from the peak 6.7 million with outages reported across the state Monday afternoon. It took utility companies working round the clock since Monday with thousands of out-of-state workers to restore power to 4.4 million Florida customers rocked by Irma's strong winds. ...
Half of Irma's power outages restored, but lights still out for 3.3 million Florida homes, businesses09/13/17Energy
The lights are back for more than half of those who lost power during Hurricane Irma's trek through Florida.
But that's little consolation for the third of the state that remained without air conditioning or electricity well into the third day after the storm.