Make us your home page
Instagram

Caitlin Johnston, Times Staff Writer

Caitlin Johnston

Caitlin Johnston covers transportation, breaking news and features in Hillsborough County. She is a graduate of Indiana University, with her master's from the University of Maryland.

She's always looking for story ideas.

Phone: (813) 226-3401

E-mail: cjohnston@tampabay.com

Twitter: @cljohnst

link
  1. Tampa's connected-vehicle program looking for volunteers

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Drivers on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway can save on their monthly toll bill by volunteering to test new technology that will warn them about potential crashes and traffic jams.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway gets federal contract award for connected vehicle program...

    A rendering shows how new technology available through the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority will warn driver's about crashes, traffic jams, speed decreases and more. THEA is seeking 1,600 volunteers to install the devices, which will display alerts in their review mirrors, as part of an 18-month connected-vehicle pilot.
  2. Tired of Howard Frankland Bridge traffic? Relief is on the way

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Motorists heading north on the Howard Frankland Bridge are all-too familiar with one of the worst bottlenecks in Tampa Bay: Interstate 275 splits in half before the Westshore interchange, leaving traffic backed up for miles on the bridge.

    But now state officials say they have a solution.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Behold the future of the Howard Frankland Bridge (w/ video)...

    Traffic is seen during morning rush hour on Interstate 275 headed northbound on the Howard Frankland Bridge. State officials say they have a plan to relieve congestion by adding an extra lane to both north and southbound I-275 approaching the bridge on the Tampa side. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Stacy White isn't happy about HART's bus system redesign

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — Hillsborough transit leaders approved a new bus system Monday and County Commissioner Stacy White isn't happy about it.

    The new routes should improve travel times for most riders, according to the Hillsborough County Area Regional Transit Authority, but will make life worse for about 20 percent of people who rely on the bus system.

    Starting Oct. 8, entire parts of the county, such as Town 'N Country and Carrollwood, will be left with limited to no coverage. The hardest hit region of the county, with only one bus route in a more-than-300-mile region? South Hillsborough County. ...

    Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White isn’t happy with the vote. “I’m not going to sugar coat it: they got hosed,” White said after Monday’s HART meeting. 
  4. Stacy White isn't happy about HART's new bus routes

    Blog

    Hillsborough transit leaders approved a new bus system Monday and County Commissioner Stacy White isn’t happy about it.

    The new routes should improve travel times for most riders, according to the Hillsborough County Area Regional Transit Authority, but will make life worse for about 20 percent of people who rely on the bus system....

    Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White, who also serves on the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board, voted against a bus system redesign Monday, Aug. 7.
  5. Despite pleas, HART okays bus system cutting 20 percent of routes

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — Motivated by harsh financial realities, Hillsborough transit board members approved a plan Monday that will eliminate nearly 20 percent of bus routes despite emotional pleas from riders who rely on them.

    The new bus routes, branded as Mission Max, will take effect on Oct. 8....

    More than 75 people filled the Hillsborough County Commission board room Monday, Aug. 7, for a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board meeting about new bus routes. The proposed system will cut nearly 20 percent of routes. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON   |   Times]
  6. Hillsborough transit board set to vote on new bus routes today

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County transit leaders will vote Monday on whether to approve a new bus system which cuts nearly 20 percent of its routes but increases the frequency of stops on the remaining ones.

    The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority August board meeting will start at 9 a.m. at the Hillsborough County Center at 601 E Kennedy Blvd. to account for the large crowd expected....

    A Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority bus pulls away from the Marion Transit Center located at 1211 N Marion Street in Tampa. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]
  7. Rick vs. Rick: St. Petersburg's mayors talk transportation

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay's mayors are among the most vocal voices when it comes to transportation — but their powers to affect change are very limited.

    In Florida, only counties have the ability to put a referenda on the ballot asking voters to raise the sales tax to pay for roads, buses and other transportation needs. All transportation planning is run through the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, which function on a county level. And ultimately the Florida Department of Transportation is responsible for implementing large scale projects....

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman spoke to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board on Wednesday and made the case for why he should be re-elected to office. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  8. Rick Kriseman: MLS 'intrigued' by Tropicana Field site for soccer

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman dropped an intriguing idea while talking to sports talk radio station 620-AM on Tuesday morning:

    He said Major League Soccer is interested in using the Tropicana Field site for a bigger soccer-orientated stadium that could host the Tampa Bay Rowdies and big soccer-related events, such as a world tournament.

    His idea would come into play if the Tampa Bay Rays were to leave St. Petersburg for a new stadium, either in Tampa or somewhere else in Pinellas County....

    St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman said if the Rays decide to leave Tropicana Field, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber is "excited and intrigued" by the Trop as a larger soccer-orientated stadium that could host the Rowdies and world tournaments. [AP photo (2014)]
  9. Coast Guard rescues brothers from sinking boat during Tropical Storm Emily

    Public Safety

    Two brothers clung to a range light in the waters of Tampa Bay on Monday morning as Tropical Storm Emily unleashed a downpour on them and their sinking boat.

    The Tampa men — Tung Le, 47, and Thanh Le, 41 — had gone out for a morning fishing trip when things turned dangerous.

    The storm was already pounding the region when the engine died on their 17-foot boat around 9:45 a.m. While the brothers worked on the inoperable pump, the boat drifted and struck the Tampa Bay Cut Delta Channel outbound rear range light....

    A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Station St. Petersburg  rescues two men clinging to a range light in Tampa Bay on Monday, July 31, 2017. The brothers were forced to cling to the navigational aid after their 17-foot boat sunk in the bay during Tropical Storm Emily. [U.S. Coast Guard]
  10. Tampa Bay's Democratic Environmental Caucus endorses Rick Kriseman for mayor

    Blog

    The Tampa Bay chapter of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida on Monday endorsed St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman for re-election.

    The group in a press release said that Kriseman has been at the “forefront of significant and meaningful environmental policy” and understands that “climate change from global warming is a real, man-made threat to the people and property of St. Petersburg.”...

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg July 25. The event is presented by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9.
  11. Tampa Bay's Democratic Environmental Caucus endorses Rick Kriseman for mayor

    Blog

    The Tampa Bay chapter of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida on Monday endorsed St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman for re-election.

    The group in a press release said that Kriseman has been at the “forefront of significant and meaningful environmental policy” and understands that “climate change from global warming is a real, man-made threat to the people and property of St. Petersburg.”...

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg July 25. The event is presented by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9.
  12. Iowa man arrested at Tampa Bay Comic Con for stalking Kate Beckinsale

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Actor Kate Beckinsale postponed a panel appearance for several hours Saturday at Tampa Bay Comic Con to file a police report after an Iowa man with a history of harassing her was arrested, Tampa police said.

    Terry Lee Repp, 45, was at the event early Saturday morning. Beckinsale was schedule to appear at an 11:30 a.m. question-and-answer session.

    "(Repp) appears to have an irrational obsession with (Beckinsale) and has traveled across the country in an effort to harass her," the police report said....

    Terry Repp, 45, of Iowa was charged with stalking Kate Beckinsale at Tampa Bay Comic Con.
  13. Even transit leaders don't rely on their own buses

    Mass Transit

    The debate over if and how to expand Tampa Bay's transit system has dominated civic discussions for decades.

    The region's bus system lags behind almost every other major city when it comes to frequency, spending and access to jobs.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tampa Bay has one of the worst public transit systems in America. Here's why....

    Buses are seen at the Marion Transit Center located at 1211 N Marion Street Thursday, July 13, 2017 in Tampa. The transit center is part of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority system. [Alessandra Da Pra |   Times]

  14. HART takes no action, but continues debate on raising taxes for bus service

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — After dozens of studies, public meetings, forums, plans and votes, Hillsborough's transit leaders still don't know how they'll raise money for the county's struggling bus system.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Jeff Vinik: Politicians are holding back Tampa Bay's transit future...

    Bus riders wait for a bus to arrive recently at the Brandon Town Center Mall, Brandon, a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority transfer stop location. [Scott Keeler | Times]
  15. Jeff Vinik: Politicians are holding back Tampa Bay's transit future

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik said Friday that it's local politicians, not the business community, who are holding Tampa Bay back when it comes to transit.

    "Our business community is behind it," said Vinik, a driving force in developing Tampa's downtown, during a Friday meeting recapping a recent Charlotte visit to learn about transit. "The political community is mixed and not there yet."

    It's up to the business community and the public to help politicians understand how critical an issue transit is for Tampa Bay, Vinik said....

    Tampa businessman Jeff Vinik listens to a presentation on transit in Charlotte. Vinik was one of about 20 Tampa Bay business leaders to visit the peer city earlier this week to learn about light rail, buses and development. [Tampa Bay Partnership]