Light Rail Prospects Brighten

Rail Car
TAMPA (2009-12-11) -

Tampa Bay's regional transportation authority held its first meeting since the SunRail rail package was approved this week in Tallahassee. And its members are pleased with their prospects.

The bill that passed Wednesday creates Florida Rail Enterprise, which would have a dedicated pot of money for rail projects across the state. And Congress has appropriated $1.7 million to help plan Tampa's proposed light rail line.

Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority member and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio says for the first time, there is a statewide policy on rail. And Tampa's plan, she says, is the furthest along.

"A lot of the emphasis was on Tri-Rail in Miami, and SunRail in Orlando, but I tell you, I think the real strong program is going to be right here," she says. "When you talk about a program that's going to be funded, carefully thought out and done in a positive, incremental fashion, it's going to be this Hillsborough rail project, under the TBARTA umbrella."

Of course, that all depends if Hillsborough County voters approve a sales tax referendum on light rail planned for November.

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