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Tampa Mayor Jane Castor addresses how to fix the city's 'transportation crisis'

Posted at 4:18 PM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 18:00:36-04

TAMPA, Fla. --- Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has addressed how she plans to fix what she calls a "transportation crisis."

Mayor Castor announced the plans to move the city forward as part of her findings from her transportation and advisory teams.

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Castor touched on how she wants to take transportation to the next level with addressing other modes of transportation. That includes expanding and modernizing the Streetcar, expanding the CSX rail lines to connect major districts in the city and investing in a bus network with frequent and reliable service.

A Streetcar expansion is something that has been mentioned before, but now there is a possibility of expanding north into Seminole Heights or even east Tampa.

"The expansion into the heights will be a game changer,” Castor said. "It will give locals a transit into downtown other than driving.”

Along with the Streetcar, Castor said she wants to use CSX rail lines as a way to build stronger and walkable neighborhoods.

She said it could provide housing opportunities for people who work in Tampa.

Along with other modes of transportation, the mayor wants to see connecting areas without cars through Greenways & Trails so people have the option to walk or bike.

Mayor Castor also announced that the city is embracing Vision Zero, meaning Tampa is committed to safe streets.

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Several of the options have been mentioned before, from expanding bus routes to expanding the Streetcar, but the mayor is making this a top priority to see it through.

Her plan on bringing together regional entities will hopefully accomplish these transportation goals.

Some of the city’s key leaders, like Jean Duncan, recognize the projects would be expensive.

Duncan points out that the Metropolitan Planning Organization has identified over a billion dollars in projects in the Tampa area.

Those projects would hopefully be funded through the All For Transportation budget, however, that is tied up in a court battle that will not be heard from until February.

Duncan said if that money is still struck down, then they would have to find other sources of funding that could include raising developer fees, new referendums or other ways.

However, for the larger projects that would go outside the city, and some that would expand in the region, Duncan said different agencies would all have to come to the table.

The city has also recently identified their priority projects to help fix roads and infrastructures that include adding crosswalks, sidewalks, and better lighting to make roads safer.

When asked what project is a priority, or first on the list — the mayor responded with all of them.