© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You Count on Us, We Count on You: Donate to WUSF to support free, accessible journalism for yourself and the community.
More and more people are finding themselves living paycheck to paycheck in the greater Tampa Bay region. In some places, rent has doubled. The cost of everyday goods — like gas and groceries — keeps creeping up. All the while, wages lag behind and the affordable housing crisis looms. Amid cost-of-living increases, WUSF is focused on documenting how people are making ends meet.

In State of the City, Jane Castor says affordable housing, infrastructure Tampa's biggest challenges

Jane Castor speaks at the State of the City address
City of Tampa
During her State of the City address, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said rapid growth has created big challenges in housing and infrastructure.

The city's breakneck growth has created problems in the availability of affordable housing and overstressed infrastructure, Mayor Castor said in her State of the City address.

Tampa's rapid growth has created big challenges in housing and infrastructure.

That's according to Mayor Jane Castor, who gave her annual State of the City address Wednesday.

In 2019, the city council approved a long-term $3 billion project to replace water and sewer lines. Castor said that should eliminate water line breaks and street cave-ins from collapsed lines.

"The city currently has 103 active projects, which translates into $1.7 billion in investment in our infrastructure," she said. "We are replacing and maintaining water and wastewater lines that in many parts of Tampa, are over 100-years-old."

The skyrocketing cost of housing is another byproduct of the city's growth.

The mayor said the high cost of rents and homes can be fixed in part by allowing zoning changes to build large-scale subsidized housing complexes.

"The only way to make housing more affordable for people at all income levels is to build more housing that remains affordable," she said. "For every available apartment, there are 20 people that are looking to rent."

Castor acknowledged an urgency to find solutions.

"We cannot let those who have called Tampa home for generations be priced out," she said.

She also highlighted attempts such as public-private initiatives and increased development opportunities where rapid bus lines are being built.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.