In a historic meeting on March 15, the council of MPOs, known as the MPO Chairs Coordinating Committee, representing the eight counties in West Central Florida agreed on the next big things in transportation. The action came after the list of ten strategic initiatives was independently endorsed by each of the region’s MPOs.
The list is a mix of highways and transit, and of long-term aspirations and shovel-ready projects. It reflects goals shared by local governments and the state, capturing hopes for new federal grants and potential public-private partnerships as well as current spending priorities. It aspires to collaborations that are new to this region — though not new to Florida.
Top Ten Regional Transportation Intiatives:
- I-75 through the entire region: Finish building six lanes throughout. Add new express toll lanes. Connect to the Port of Manatee. Include express bus service.
- I-4 from the Orlando area, and I-275 west of I-4: Add new express toll lanes. Include express bus service.
- I-275 Howard Frankland Bridge: Rebuild the eastbound span, with a transit corridor. Fix the interchange at the east end of bridge, and provide transit connection points.
- US 19, Pinellas-Pasco: Add more interchanges and frontage roads. Connect to I-275 at new 118th Ave Exwy. Include express bus service.
- SR 54/56, Pasco’s “Northern Loop”: Add new express toll lanes. Include express bus service.
- US 41, Sarasota/Manatee’s “Multimodal Corridor”: Improve intersections, lanes, bus stations, sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting and landscape.
- Suncoast Parkway: Extend tollway into Citrus County and connect to US 19. Finish building eight lanes on the Veteran’s Exwy. Include express bus service.
- Pinellas Alternatives Analysis: New light rail connecting Downtown St Petersburg to Downtown Clearwater through the Gateway Business District. Bus system expansion countywide.
- CSX Corridor Hybrid Rail: Sunrail-style agreement with CSX for shared use by passenger vehicles of freight rail corridor, northward and westward from Downtown Tampa.
- US 92 Corridor Rail: Extend Sunrail commuter rail service westward to Winter Haven, Lakeland, and Tampa.