Policy & Transportation Digest

Not everyone likes the County Commission’s transportation funding option:  In an editorial this week, the Tampa Bay Times wrote that the proposed plan offered by Commissioner Sandy Murman was not the best option for funding the transportation needs of Hillsborough County.  The Times argued that while Commissioner Murman’s plan of dedicating one-third of all future growth in property and sales tax revenues to transportation needs will generate much needed funding, it could come at the cost of other important county services needed to meet the need of current and future residents. 

State spending next session may be limited: While Florida’s economy continues to grow it may not be at the rate expected. State economist predict the state budget will grow at a lower rate than originally estimated.  This means that the Legislature  may have a smaller budget surplus to work with during the 2017 legislative session.  Already legislators have begun making promises for higher spending in education as well as a huge purchase of environmental land to project Lake Okeechobee.  With limited resources it will be interesting to see if the promises are possible.

Jeff Vinik downtown project begins: Beginning August 29, road work will begin downtown on Morgan Street and will affect Channelside Drive.  This is the beginning of the Strategic Property Partners and Cascade Investment 40-acre urban core project that will change the look of downtown Tampa.  Phase one is expected to continue through next summer.  SPP has created a website that will keep residents and commuters updated throughout the project.

“State of Transit” event brings talk of Rail:  During a State of Transit summit sponsored by HART this week, Lightning owner and developer Jeff Vinik spoke publicly about the need for rail in Tampa.  On a panel with State Senator Jeff Brandes, City Council Chairman Mike Suarez, and HART CEO Katharine Eagan, Jeff Vinik spoke about the need to explore all transportation options to improve mobility within the community.

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