Too little, too late?

Ray Chiaramonte, executive director of the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization was quoted by the St. Pete Times as saying that there is not enough room at Tampa International Airport (TIA) for a high-speed rail terminal and that it is too close to downtown Tampa’s proposed terminal. Never mind that we can look forward to POB (plain old bus) service between TIA and downtown for the next 20 years. 

No problem. Once Tampa travelers discover that it will be quicker to get to more final destinations by catching international and non-stop flights out of Orlando, there will be plenty of unused space at TIA. But then it will be too late to “change the plan.” 

Why is it that Orlando gets 3 high-speed rail stations (Disney, convention center & airport) while all of Hillsborough county gets only one (downtown Tampa)? 

David Armijo, the executive director of HART, the county bus agency leading coordination of Hillsborough’s light rail says we could have light rail to TIA sooner, but that would require more money. Just how much more than the already $6 billion projected light rail cost he didn’t say. HART will be studying this “new idea” for the next 90 days, but not in enough time for the BOCC to decide to put the transportation tax increase on the ballot. That will happen in 10 days. 

Any bets that when the tax “referendum” comes in front of the voters in November that “The Plan” will still not include exactly how/where/when the rail/bus/road projects will occur, let alone how much it will cost taxpayers?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


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