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Tampa is creating a regional office that should make finding transportation funding easier

"We've identified about $2 billion worth of needs. Our annual transportation budget is nowhere near the amount that’s required to implement that. So we wanted to acknowledge that and be transparent of that while not limiting our ability to dream 30 years out and imagine what Tampa's transportation system could look like, cognizant that funding situations do change." - Alex Henry, Tampa's Interim Chief Planner
Florida Department of Transportation
/
Courtesy
Earlier this year, the city unveiled its $2 billion transportation plan, with a goal of completing it by 2050. Henry says the biggest hurdle toward completion was financial.

The Regional Infrastructure Accelerator office will assist local transportation agencies in finding, grants, public-private partnerships, and other sources of funding for the projects, which have found a tough time finding money otherwise.

The City of Tampa will be using a $1.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to create a regional office focused on finding funding for transportation projects.

The Regional Infrastructure Accelerator office will assist local transportation agencies in finding grants, public-private partnerships and other sources of funding for the projects, which have found a tough time finding money otherwise.

"The streetcar extension, [Bus Rapid Transit] connections from downtown to USF, that has been talked about and planned for,” said Alex Henry, the Chief Planner for Tampa’s Mobility Department. “But really a big shortcoming and a big barrier to their implementation has been that identification of local funding."

Earlier this year, the city unveiled its $2 billion transportation plan, with a goal of completing it by 2050. Henry says the biggest hurdle toward completion was financial.

The grant from US-DOT aims to remedy that.

And Henry says the office won't just be helpful for the city's transportation office.

"TPO, HART, F-DOT, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, and others, especially in the private sector, are really going to be key to this process," Henry said.

The city’s application for the grant identified projects at the forefront of the city’s priority list, along with an overall timeline of completion:

  • Airport to Downtown Premium Transit (6-year timeline)
  • Downtown to USF Arterial Bus Rapid Transit (2-year timeline)
  • InVision Streetcar Extension and Modernization (4-year timeline)
  • Brightline Station Multimodal Connections (3-year timeline)
  • CSX South Tampa Multimodal Corridor (6-year timeline)
  • Connected Citywide Bike Network (15-year timeline)

According to an organizational chart, Tampa’s RIA Lead will work directly under Mayor Jane Castor, while also leading a team of RIA Support Staff.
Once the city receives the money for the grant, Henry says there is a 15-month timeline for the creation of the office.

He says the office will serve some of the responsibilities of the soon-to-be-defunct Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, as it will be pulling in different entities.

“This program is really focused on, at its core, the delivery of this specific pipeline of projects, which is a little bit different of an aim,” Henry said. “But there are similar aims of pulling different stakeholders together with the express intent of really moving these projects forward.”

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