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Tampa Bay Tea Party transit critics get their say at forum

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Whatever adjective(s) you may wish to use to describe Sharon Calvert, Tom Rask and Barb Haselden, “effective” has to be one of them. The three Tea Party-aligned citizen activists have led the opposition to the two major public transit initiatives that have gone down to defeat over the past seven years, and contributed strongly to a third never making it to the ballot in Hillsborough County in 2016 (they also proudly add the failed referendums in Polk County in 2010 and…

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Janet Long lashes out at transit critics

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Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long was not happy. Last Monday, the board of the Hillsborough County Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) inserted revised language into a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PSTA to ensure that the agreement did not mean that the two transit agencies would be merging or preparing for a sales tax referendum pending because of it. That rankled some board members, who said that the agreement is simply to officially collaborate on more issues going forward. Upon…

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Hillsborough MPO head wants to slow down talk of new regional transportation authority

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Beth Alden is looking to have a serious discussion about regional transportation in the Tampa Bay area. In early 2017, the consensus among the political and business establishment is that the Tampa Bay region must come together as one cohesive regional entity to maximize its leverage before anything can be done about transportation. However, Alden, the head of the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Organization (MPO), wants to put on the brakes. “Let’s not do this half-assed,” she asserted in an interview earlier this…

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PSTA to expand Direct Connect program, Uber rides to bus stops

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Need a ride to the bus stop? Hail an Uber from anywhere in the county to a PSTA bus stop and PSTA will pick up the tab. That’s the gist of the Direct Connect program created by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to solve the problem of the so-called first mile/last mile obstacle to the use of public transportation. Agency officials say the public-private partnership is the first in the country to solve that problem. At issue is the rider’s…

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PSTA, HART take steps to formal working partnership

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The two agencies responsible for bus service in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties already collaborate, but in the future, they plan to have a tighter working partnership. On Wednesday, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s legislative committee got its first look at a proposed agreement that could result in the merger of some departments. The general goal is to streamline services to save money and provide better service for transit riders, PSTA CEO Brad Miller said. The agreement sets out areas in…

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Patti Johnson named a finalist for Transportation Disadvantaged’s elected official of the year

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Pinellas Park council member Patti Johnson has been named a finalist for the title of 2016 Elected Official of the Year. The award is given annually by the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged. The winner will be named Dec. 14 at a banquet in Jacksonville. The award is designed to recognize an elected official who has demonstrated his/her support to those who are transportation disadvantaged. The winner will be someone who has worked to ensure mobility options remain available…

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PSTA sets its legislative wish list

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

It’s the time of year when everyone seems to be making a list, from shopping lists to wish lists. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is no different. Members unanimously adopted their four-item wish list at Wednesday’s meeting. But, in this case, they want the State Legislature to be generous. No. 1 on their wish list for the upcoming state Legislative Session: A letter of support from legislators to the Florida Department of Transportation asking that the state agency include funding…

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