November 2019 – After two years of hard work, rounds of public surveys, coordination with local governments and state agencies, and the MPO Board’s advisory committees’ input, the public hearing to adopt the It’s TIME Hillsborough 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) was held during the MPO Board meeting of November 5. The public hearing was a culmination of efforts, including representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) collaborating with the MPO staff to implement changes requested by the MPO Board. The final plan was also built on 15,000 survey responses, and public comments from citizens during a 30-day draft review period and in person at the hearing.
The MPO Board approved the draft 2045 Transportation Plan with three adjustments. They:
- Removed the widening of SR 60 through the rural portion of eastern Hillsborough County;
- Removed the word “tolls” from the description of future express lanes on I-4 and I-75 (this doesn’t prevent them from being tolled, just doesn’t specify tolls); and
- Identified, as a top priority, support for HART’s negotiation with CSX for shared use of existing freight rail tracks, to create a new rapid transit system.
The approved 2045 Plan includes ambitious visions for rapid transit and road improvements. In addition, work can now move forward with the Downtown Interchange “Quick Fix” near-term solution FDOT developed in collaboration with local neighborhoods and the MPO. Full reconstruction of the Westshore Interchange at I-275/SR 60, to remove one of the region’s largest bottlenecks, is another major project that can now advance.