Transit Plan Favors Roads

TAMPA -

Hillsborough County Commissioners voted to spend an extra $500 million on transportation over five years. Almost all of that money will go toward widening roads.

Less than a tenth of the total amount - $40 million - would be used to create a 'bus rapid transit' system. That would ease the way for buses to travel on Florida and Fletcher Avenues in Tampa. And even less would be used to begin buying right of way for a possible light rail system.

In the fall, task force members say they'll try to come up with long-term solutions to gridlock, including mass transit. Commissioner Ken Hagan thinks they'll ask for another $1.5 billion on long-term projects, which could include a light rail line

But he says the success of any commuter rail plan may hinge on two things. One, the new Bay Area transportation authority needs to come up with a regional transit plan. And a referendum is being considered by the City of Tampa to raise sales taxes for a light rail line. But Hagan says that that won't likely take place for another three years.

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