March 2020 – At the January meeting of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization Board, members discussed the status and future of three projects that could transform transit for Hillsborough County. The first presentation was an update of the extension and modernization of the TECO Historic Streetcar from it’s current stopping point in Downtown north to Palm Avenue. This project is currently in the pipeline for possible federal funding with plans to submit a funding request in August of 2020.
This was followed by a status update of the ongoing Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) Arterial Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) study which is looking at enhancing transit service between Downtown Tampa and the University of South Florida (USF) and the feasibility of BRT between these two major economic areas. The project is slated to be completed in 2020.
The final presentation was a status update on Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA)’s Regional Rapid Transit (RRT) Study. The RRT Study is a follow up to the 2018 Regional Transit Feasibility Plan (RTFP), refining the recommendations of the catalyst project, creating BRT service between Wesley Chapel, Tampa, and St. Petersburg. This project will also be completed in 2020.
The HART Arterial BRT and TBARTA RRT will move forward with future phases in 2021, with the possibility to seek federal funding soon after. These three projects, along with the Central Avenue BRT in St. Petersburg, have the ability to be the first phases of a truly robust regional transit system to serve the Tampa Bay Region. Additional information on each project can be found at the following sites: