By Michael Maurino, Director of Government Relations, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
Governor approves Legislature’s priorities; would also like his approved: Gov. Rick Scott signed into law the legislature’s priorities this week: the House’s water bill, and the Senate’s intellectually disabled programs bill. The Governor continued his push for $1 billion in tax cuts, and $250 million for Enterprise Florida incentives. The Senate is backing EFI funding, but tax cuts will be competing with healthcare for a share of the state’s surplus. The House will try to accomplish the Governor’s tax cut goal.
Film incentives could be part of the Senate’s incentive package. The lack of state film incentives has gained notoriety in Tampa, following the decision to film the Ybor City scenes of the movie “Live By Night” in Georgia.
275’s present and future in the news: Interstate 275’s reconstruction between Westshore and Downtown Tampa is within a few months of completion. But, the interim realignment has led to long backups on northbound 275 that were not anticipated. The issue should be fixed in a few weeks, and the entire reconstruction should be done by Fall 2016.
Following the completion of the 275 rebuild, FDOT is planning express lanes in the median of 275 and I-4. Called Tampa Bay Express (TBX), the lanes would be tolled, and give drivers an option between congested general use lanes and the express lanes. This week, the US Public Interest Research Group called TBX a “highway boondoggle.” Those who are opposed to TBX want the $3.3 billion plan used for improved transit, while FDOT says TBX will make transit possible in the interstate corridors.
Computer, you can drive my car: The USDOT announced a $4 billion plan for “accelerating the development and adoption” of automated vehicles and connected vehicle infrastructure. There is a race between the regulations needed for automated vehicles, and the engineering that makes them possible. It’s more likely that the technology “may get here before we’re ready.”
The University of Michigan released a study this week confirming what many suspected: there are less new drivers, compared to previous generations. For Tampa, that could mean more automated vehicles, or an urgent need for mass transit. Either way, this song might become outdated.
Military Appreciation Banquet: Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 24 for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce 2016 Military Appreciation Banquet, presented by Bright House Networks! Registration is now open for corporate tables and individual tickets.
The 2016 Military Appreciation Banquet will showcase our servicemen and women. Join us as we honor those who serve in our community, and defend our nation. Visit our website for more information, and to purchase tickets.