Greenlight Pinellas next Green Bench Conversation issue tonight

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Four Tampa Bay mayors will meet with the public in St. Petersburg tonight to talk Greenlight Pinellas, the latest hot-button topic in a semi-regular series of community discussions on the most pressing regional and civic issues.

St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and PNC Bank serve as hosts of the next Green Bench Conversations continues Tuesday night, starting 5:30 pm. at the freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman,  Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos and Indian Rocks Beach Mayor R.B. Johnson will be among the special guests to debate the future of Pinellas County transit. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a strong supporter of the Greenlight Pinellas plan, will also be among the speakers.

Moderating will be Chamber President and CEO Chris Steinocher.

Greenlight Pinellas is the countywide transit plan advocated by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

In November, county voters will decide on a one-cent sales tax and replacing the current PSTA ad valorem property transit tax.

If approved, Greenlight Pinellas will increase the PSTA operating budget to $130 million, and enact expansion to bus service by nearly 65 percent. Changes include developing high-speed bus lanes and a grid network, which supporters say will improve bus wait times to no more than 15 minutes.

In addition to extended bus coverage areas and additional weekend service, construction would begin on a light rail corridor from St. Petersburg to Clearwater Beach.

Green Bench Conversations are free, but registration is required as seats are limited. To register or for more information, visit or or call (727) 388-2916.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.