More on commuter rail for Tampa Bay area in Florida

October 25, 2015

CSX tracks may be route to commuter rail’s future

Is the solution to the Tampa Bay area’s mass transit woes already crisscrossing Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties?Website Insert Start Here copy

That’s a question local planners will begin considering in the weeks and likely years to come as Jacksonville-based CSX Corp. considers selling off two rail lines that could conceivably be operated as commuter routes.

CSX floated the sale of 96 miles of track at a recent meeting of the Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area Leadership Group, which includes three elected officials each from the three counties’ Metropolitan Planning Organizations and sets regional transportation priorities.

The CSX presentation in September has fired up rail proponents, who see a gift-wrapped system that could move people from downtown Tampa through downtown Clearwater into downtown St. Petersburg, north through Pasco County as far as Brooksville in Hernando, with connections to the University of South Florida and Tampa International Airport.

“Right now, all the stars seem to be in alignment, and we’re ready,” said Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione, a member of the transportation management leadership group. “I think it would be a great addition to alleviate some of the transportation issues that we have in the area.”

On the Pinellas side, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said he’s still studying the proposal, but he’s a big proponent of transportation alternatives.

“We have to do something,” Kriseman said. “It really puts us as a region at a disadvantage economically and competitively that we don’t have better transportation options available. … We’ve got to get it started.”

Tampa Tribune staff writer Jerome R. Stockfisch has the full story by clicking here.


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