LT’19 Transportation Day

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By Gina Evans, Tampa International Airport

Transportation impacts all of our industries and on February 20th we had the opportunity to spend the day with leaders in our community followed by experiencing various transportation modes in Tampa ourselves.  The day began at Tampa International Airport (TPA) and concluded with “The Amazing Race.” I mean “Experience.”

The day kicked off with an overview of TPA’s three-phase Master Plan beginning with the decongestion of Phase 1 and ending with expansion of Phase 3 presented by Executive Vice President of Facilities and Maintenance, Al Illustrato.  Interim Director of Marketing, Danny Cooper, provided an overview of Air Service Development and the economic impact of TPA on our community.

Key points:

  • TIA is in Albania, Tampa International Airport is TPA
  • TPA has a legacy of innovation and leadership in our community
  • TPA’s logo, Spirit of flight, means traveling fast from right to left while the sun is setting over the water

Following these presentations, Tyler Hudson provided an overview and update on the “All for Transportation” referendum.  The top two concerns countywide were safety and congestion.  Jeff Seward referred to the new Chief Executive Officer of HART as the “Chief Expectations Officer” in regard to the referendum as the new CEO begins to implement the doubling of the budget in a year while balancing all of the opportunities to grow connectivity.

We then went on a tour of TPA including the extensive baggage screening system, USO, Travelers Aid, the police department and the Airport Operations Center (AOC).

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Key points:

  • TPA has over four miles of baggage system belts
  • Not every airport has an USO and this is a great resource for our military families in Tampa
  • Travelers Aid plays a crucial role with staffing from The Crisis Center
  • TPA has their own police department with holding cells
  • The AOC is the nerve center of the airport property and operations

During a working lunch, there was a panel discussion on smart cities with Marshall Pearsall, Senior Project Manager, KCI Technologies, Ron Katzman, Director of Strategy & Operations, SME Solutions, and Jeff Seward, Interim CEO of HART.

Key points:

  • Technology brings efficiency to all modes of transportation
  • Connected vehicles go beyond individuals and even to waste management trucks
  • Smart Cities are the new competition for businesses and growth

The afternoon took us on an experience where we had to use seven of 10 transportation modes (Walking, Coast Bike Share, HART bus, HART in-towner, The Downtowner, Street Car, TNCs, Taxi Cabs, ZipCar, Pirate Water Taxi)  to six different locations  (Amalie Arena, Armature Works, Blind Tiger Ybor, Florida Aquarium, Tampa Fire Museum, and University of Tampa) with challenges and amazing pictures.  The experience taught all of us the challenges of how even the newest technology, Teslsa’s Downtowner wait times, had its flaws while balancing the modes throughout Tampa.

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Overall, the key themes were how innovation plays a critical role in all forms of transportation and as the city continues to grow all options need to be on the table to meet the needs of the various populations in our community.


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The Tampa Bay Chamber is a not-for-profit business membership organization that helps promote the businesses and business interests of our members. We come from diverse backgrounds: from small businesses, big corporations, government bodies and the military. United, we become a single, unifying force with the power to shape the future of Tampa Bay.