Commuter Rail Plan Back on Track

Commuter Train

We'll never be able to build enough roads to keep up with the region's population growth.

That's part of a warning - and a lure - from Ray Chiaramonte. He's the Assistant Executive Director of the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission. He's trying to get a commuter rail system in place before the Bay Area's population swells even more. He spoke at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.

CHIARAMONTE: The biggest hurdle is getting everybody together and agreeing on a plan and agreeing that we need to do something to go forward. But my experience talking to average citizens is they already get it.

Chiaramonte says if the region's municipalities can agree on a plan, commuter rail using existing rail lines could be in place in as soon as five years.

A push for commuter rail using existing rail lines is being led by Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio. It comes partly as a response to a proposed beltway of expressways that would skirt the city. But Chiramonte says CSX is telling Tampa they'll have to wait behind Orlando.

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