New grassroots org, Connect Tampa Bay, forms to advocate for "viable" transportation options

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Connect Tampa Bay, a new transportation education and advocacy organization, was launched this morning.
“Connect Tampa Bay aims to bring people together to understand the challenges we face from the lack of transportation options and advocate for solutions from the bottom up.” said Brian Willis, President of Connect Tampa Bay and former member of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority’s Citizen Advisory Committee.
Willis is joined by Brandie Miklus and Brian Seel as the founding board members of Connect Tampa Bay. The non-profit organization launched this morning with a message sent out to fellow citizens encouraging them to lead the discussion about transportation that is getting more intense in Tampa Bay.
In the last month, government leaders in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties have proposed transportation solutions that include improving roads, transit and creating new trails. In addition, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is leading a statewide effort to allow cities to place their own transportation referendums on the ballot.
“We need to find a way to build a modern transportation system. It is vital to rebuilding our economy and creating jobs for the future,” said Brandie Miklus, a board member of the new organization.
The founders are buoyed by recent polls conducted in Hillsborough County that show increasing support for investing in transportation — including a 14% shift in favor of a new 1% sales tax referendum. They also noted focus groups in both counties show that people all over want a better transportation system with more options.
“A modern transportation system gives people choices beyond a single mode of transportation.  We want to bring people together to make it a reality.” said board member Brian Seel.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.