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Group supports adding toll lanes to I-4, I-275

Posted: 11:00 PM, May 02, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-03 00:46:31-04
You’ve probably heard of “Stop TBX.” Now there’s a counter movement called “TBX Yes.”
 
"This is an effort to put forward the positive side of Tampa Bay Express,” Rick Houmans of the Tampa Bay Partnership.
 
"This will be the first chance for many of these groups to come together as a unified front,” he added.
 
The new coalition of more than 20 of Tampa Bay’s top business organizations support the state’s multi-billion-dollar project to add tolled express lanes to I-275.
 
Houmans is heading up the coalition’s effort.
 
"These are people, these are families who commute from their homes to their place of business, their schools and they need to travel these roads to live their lives,” he said.
 
The community opposition to TBX has been outspoken.
 
“They can’t tell you what to do because they’re being publicly funded,” said Christopher Vela, president of Sunshine Citizens. “They have to abide by their rules, and they need to allow the public and the community to come first.”
 
Vela said “TBX Yes” won’t discourage their efforts.
 
"We matter, the community matters and we need to be first,” he said.
 
The two groups will go head-to-head in front of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting.
 
"We're asking people to sign the petition, to call the members of the MPO, to write letters and most importantly to show up at these meetings,” Houmans said.