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PSTA to buy hybrid buses and maybe two electrics

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board agreed Wednesday to buy five hybrid buses next year to replace aging diesel models. But two of those buses could become electric if the county decides to use about $590,000 of the $7.1 million it received from the BP settlement to fund a charging station for electric buses. If that happens, the PSTA will buy three hybrids and two electrics, which would be used in a pilot program to see if electric buses are…

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RSA Consulting, Suskey Consulting tapped to lobby for PSTA

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Members of the board that oversees Pinellas transportation voted Wednesday to hire Alan Suskey and RSA Consulting to represent the county’s transit authority before the Florida Legislature. The vote was unanimous, with Ben Diamond abstaining. Diamond is running for the state House District 68 seat and wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety should he win. Staff members of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority had recommended that board members hire RSA and Suskey for a three-year contract with two one-year…

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Ken Welch is “fairly optimistic” electric buses will be in St. Pete next year

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Members of the board that oversees Pinellas’ bus system are split when it comes to deciding what kind of buses to buy. Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority CEO Brad Miller has proposed buying five new buses to replace worn out buses in the system’s fleet. The five buses would be the first of 70 buses the PSTA plans to buy over the next five years. Under Miller’s proposal, the five new buses would be diesel unless funding is found to install…

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Jeff Brandes: PSTA needs to rethink its mission, be open to options

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Transportation is undergoing a “profound change” with an uncertain future that requires officials to be open to as many options as possible, state Sen. Jeff Brandes told a Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority Committee on Monday. “This is as profound as it was a hundred years ago when we were transitioning from horse and buggy to the Model T,” Brandes said. “The best thing we can do is open ourselves to as many options as we can … [to] maximizing our…

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RSA Consulting, Alan Suskey likely to be next PSTA lobbyists

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A committee for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has recommended that RSA Consulting Group become the next state lobbyist for the county’s bus system. But the proposed deal comes with a string attached: Lobbyist Alan Suskey must be part of the contract. For the two — RSA and Suskey — the PSTA will pay up to $7,500 a month or no more than $90,000 annually. The contract will last for three years and will have two one-year extensions. The proposed contract is expected to…

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Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority launches search for state lobbyist

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The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, which runs the county bus system, is looking for someone to lobby state legislators on its behalf. Triggering the search was the expiration of the contract with GrayRobinson, an Orlando-based law firm and lobbying group that has represented the PSTA since 2011. GrayRobinson is paid a base salary of about $60,000 per year for its services. It’s been a cost that has paid off, Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch said. Welch is one of the commission’s…

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Government paying a portion of your Uber fare? Let’s talk about it, says Jeff Brandes

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

State Sen. Jeff Brandes says he knows where the future of transportation is heading, and it’s not towards a bus stop. “The future of transportation is people going from your house to your business and back,” said Brandes, alluding to ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft. “It’s isn’t […] walking to the bus stop, getting on the bus, taking the bus to the next bus stop, getting off and walking to your destination.” Brandes’ remarks came Wednesday night, during…

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