By the year 2040, our region is expected to grow by approximately 43 percent. As we grow, commute times, travel costs, and congestion will continue to increase exponentially. Compared to today, by 2040 traffic congestion is expected to nearly double; meaning a commute of 30 minutes today could be nearly 60 minutes in 2040. The Tampa metro area is ranked as having the 11th worst congestion levels in the US.  Only large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York experience more congestion according to the TomTom Traffic Index.  Our area’s rapid, sprawling growth has resulted in dispersed employment centers, predominantly suburban development, and a transportation system with few options. Residents often drive alone, overloading the roadways that link our suburban areas. Providing choices to travel around the region will improve mobility, resulting in more free time with our families and less time stuck in traffic.

Established by the Florida State Legislature in July 2007 and amended in June 2017, Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) serves the five counties of Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas, and any other contiguous county that is party to an agreement of participation. TBARTA develops a regional transit development plan that provides a vision for a regionally integrated transportation system. Planning for the region requires a strong partnership between TBARTA, transportation and planning agencies, and the Tampa Bay business community. Consensus among TBARTA and its partners is clear.  Now is the time for a single regional plan, moving forward with a regional transit vision, and implementing a cohesive and incremental transit system that balances the movement of passengers and freight.

We ask that the Legislature:

Establish an organization with the authority and the funding to implement a Regional Transit Master Plan for the area including Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Manatee counties.

Key Talking Points:

  1. TBARTA’s vision is a world class transportation network for the Tampa Bay Region that will connect people and places, move goods and services, enhance the quality of life, and offer transportation options that are safe, sustainable, affordable, and efficient.
  2. TBARTA will act as a catalyst for a vibrant economic future through leadership, collaboration, and partnerships.
  3. Since 2007, TBARTA has worked tirelessly to provide regional vision, direction, leadership, collaboration, and seamless coordination – leading Tampa Bay’s regional transportation discussion. Since its inception, TBARTA has played a vital role in the success of several accomplishments that have involved defining priorities, partnering with agencies, and providing a valuable regional information source.

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Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, has sponsored a proposed bill for the 2018 Legislative session that would amend a 1925 law preventing the city from relocating its concert bandshell for its $55 million Imagine Clearwater redevelopment plan.  The 1925 Special Act, passed when the state granted Clearwater strips of uplands and submerged lands to construct the Causeway Memorial bridge, prohibits any "carnivals or shows of any character" in the 500 feet north of a boundary that runs by the bridge. That 500-foot stretch is nearly the exact location of the proposed site for the new bandshell.  If the Legislature does not amend the Special Act of 1925, the bandshell cannot be relocated to the site.

We ask that the Legislature:

Support the proposed bill amending the Special Act of 1925 so that the Imagine Clearwater project can proceed.

Key Talking Points

  1. Imagine Clearwater is a $55 million waterfront redevelopment plan city consultants designed with community input and staff feedback projected to be completed in four years.
  2. By a 75.8% approval, the referendum on the November 7th ballot passed, allowing for the development of the walkways, gardens and other structures below the Bluff.
  3. Clearwater has a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop a transformative vision for its downtown waterfront.

Useful Sources:


VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation, serves as Florida's official source for travel planning to visitors across the globe.  As the Sunshine State's No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 112.3 million visitors in 2016.  Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors spent $108.8 billion and supported 1.4 million Florida jobs.  According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, $3.20 in tax revenue is generated.  Each year, the Florida Legislature appropriates public funding to be allocated for tourism marketing.   VISIT FLORIDA facilitates tourism industry participation in domestic and international travel trade and consumer shows, as well as media missions to the top global visitor markets. VISIT FLORIDA also works closely with travel agents, tour operators, meeting and event planners, and is responsible for operating Florida’s five Official Welcome Centers.

We ask that the Legislature:

Continue adequate state funding of Visit Florida to ensure our state’s continued competitiveness in tourism-oriented marketing.

Key Talking Points:

  1. As of August 15, 2017, a record-breaking 60.7 million tourists visited the state of Florida, a 4.1 percent increase over the first half of 2016.
  2. In 2016, Florida drew a record 112 million visitors.
  3. On average, visitors spend $300 million per day in Florida.
  4. Since 2011, international visitation has increased by 14 percent to 14.4 million visitors.
  5. The annual impact of international visitor spend in Florida is $25.7 billion.

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