Your community transportation plan has arrived

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In the next 25 years, more than 1.8 million people will call Hillsborough County home. As it stands, today’s transportation system is struggling to keep up with current demands and current financial resources are already committed. In order to compete for jobs with other communities of our size, we need to invest in transportation and mobility solutions that encourage and help build a vibrant quality of life.

The Transportation for Economic Development (TED) Policy Leadership Group – all seven County Commissioners, the Mayors of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City, as well as the HART Board Chair – has been meeting with transportation and economic development experts over the past year. Discussing important transportation issues and transportation needs to enhance our ability to attract new jobs to Hillsborough County, the leaders are working on solutions to better connect residents and visitors to places they want and need to go.

On June 12, they met to discuss a proposed Community Transportation Plan, designed to:

  • Fix and maintain existing roads
  • Relieve traffic flow, congestion, and intersection bottlenecks
  • Build and widen roads
  • Double transit service, including bus rapid transit (BRT), flex and express bus services, and develop a modernized streetcar through downtown Tampa and on to the airport and/or USF
  • Make walking and biking safer

The proposed plan includes fifteen recommendations to achieve these:

  1. Employ a transportation plan with a specific funding strategy
  2. Rather than a full percent, place a ½ percent Local Option Transportation Sales Tax referendum on the November 2016 election ballot
    • creating $117.5 million annually
  3. Limit the authorization of the ½ percent Local Option Transportation Sales Tax to 30-year sunset
    • creating $3.5 billion of local revenue
    • this time frame is necessary to best enable securing state, federal, and other grants and funding sources, providing the ability to leverage additional and significant revenue beyond what is generated by the sales tax
    • based upon a conservative estimate of federal, state and other matching funds available across the categories listed, ½ percent may reasonably leverage an additional $881 million dollars (25 percent) over 30 years
    • provide the ability to fully address maintenance needs and to implement road improvements and transit
  4. Working across jurisdictional boundaries to ensure community balance and fairness, new revenue should target a two-third/one-third split between maintenance and roads to transit, and:
    • fund backlog and future maintenance program at 100%
    • fund sidewalk and bike safety program at 100%
    • equally split remaining new revenue between transit and road projects
    • consider specific project lists in three successive 10-year increments – projects funded in the initial 10-year period will be finalized in the next few months following community engagement, including HART’s 2015 Transit Development Plan, jurisdictional review, and before the approval of placing the referendum on the ballot
  5. The County and Cities’ allocation should be based on the State of Florida’s Sales Tax Distribution Formula for Local Governments, with HART receiving a 25% allocation to ensure that they reach a service level that is at least two times their current transit service
  6. Hillsborough County must ensure new growth pays an increased and equitable share of its impact on transportation by preparing an ordinance to go into effect simultaneously with a ½ percent Local Option Transportation Sales Tax. Further, we recommend a strong consideration of employment of a mobility fee land use tool that incentivizes development and redevelopment in urban areas that can fund multi-modal projects
    • this facilitates a better nexus between land use and transportation planning as we continue to grow
  7. Establish a dedicated maintenance fund program and codify maintenance policies in conjunction with all of the local jurisdictions. Additionally, develop and publish annual resurfacing project rankings, so the citizens know where roads of interest stand in priority and when improvements will occur
  8. Working across jurisdictional boundaries and in partnership with HART and other agencies, including FDOT and THEA, the City of Tampa should contribute at least 10% of their ½ percent allocation toward co-funding the modernization of the streetcar or other premium transit service, ensuring interconnections among employment, commercial, and entertainment centers
  9. Working across jurisdictional boundaries and in partnership with HART and other agencies, including FDOT and THEA, Hillsborough County should contribute at least 10% to BRT within the unincorporated County, ensuring interconnections among employment, commercial, and entertainment centers
  10. Working across jurisdictional boundaries and in partnership with HART, and other agencies, including FDOT and THEA, Plant City should contribute at least 10% of their ½ percent allocation toward co-funding express bus and circulator service to, from, and within Plant City, ensuring interconnections among employment, commercial, and entertainment centers
  11. Working across jurisdictional boundaries and in partnership with HART and other agencies, including FDOT and THEA, Temple Terrace should contribute at least 10% of their ½ percent allocation toward co-funding BRT and/or express bus services to, from, and within Temple Terrace, ensuring interconnections among employment, commercial, and entertainment centers
  12. Beginning in late summer, conduct additional community engagement to solicit further citizen input and to prioritize the initial 10-year list of specific projects for the referendum – similar to the previous community outreach, this additional community engagement should include 12 community meetings and website/social media tools
  13. Continue to build public trust, confidence, and accountability by creating processes that allow citizens to be notified and updated as specific projects are planned, changed, updated, and/or completed
  14. Hillsborough County, all of the Cities, and HART should realign and finalize prioritized project lists with other appropriate transportation agencies to further improve traffic flow, bottlenecks, and transit as well as plan for congestion relieving economic development and future projects across jurisdictions
  15. Develop and implement policies regarding alternative forms of transportation and new transportation technologies, such as improved transit, automated control vehicles, private provision transportation services, and tolling

Please read the full findings and recommendations. Be sure to send GOHillsborough your feedback by either email or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

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