The Tampa Bay region is the metropolitan area ranked most vulnerable to storm surge in the U.S., with $175 billion in potential losses. To address this challenge, the SCTPA collaborated with the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to win a grant from the Federal Highway Administration Resilience and Durability to Extreme Weather Program.
The intensive two-year planning project, which wrapped up in 2020, evaluated scenarios of severe inland flooding, coastal storm surge, and sea level rise. The study identified strategic investments that will preserve transportation lifelines through post-disaster reconstruction, supporting economic recovery and public health.
Safe Streets: The Gulf Coast Summit
West Central Florida continues to, unfortunately, lead the nation in crashes with deaths and incapacitating injuries. Though rates are high for all types of crashes, pedestrians are particularly vulnerable, and Sarasota-Bradenton, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater all were listed among the nation’s top ten most dangerous metro areas for walking in 2019.
To address this issue, the SCTPA organizes an annual Gulf Coast Safe Streets Summit. This preeminent educational event encourages the implementation of Complete Streets, or streets that are planned to be safe and accessible for all people regardless of mode of transportation. The events have featured national speakers as well as the region’s mayors and commissioners, and have recognized outstanding projects in every county.
The event complements, connects and elevates the local and regional safety planning and investment programs.
Regional Freight Logistics Zone
The transportation infrastructure needed to bring goods to our residents and distribute products from our businesses is critical to the continued economic prosperity of the region and all of Florida. Efficiencies jumped when the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center (ILC) opened in 2014 in Polk County, featuring almost two miles of rail lines and three cranes that can process 300,000 containers per year. Port Tampa Bay has grown steadily and handles more than 36 million tons of freight annually, and our two international airports handle significant freight traffic as well. The Tampa Bay area also includes a Foreign Trade Zone and 14 logistics clusters with a variety of manufacturing, warehousing, intermodal operations, and distribution centers. In 2017, regional collaboration brought home federal strategic freight grant dollars for big-ticket projects like a new rail overpass near Port Tampa Bay.
Proposed Tampa Bay MPO
The Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough County MPOs are investigating the formation, organization, and governance structure of a new regional MPO to serve the urban area of Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. A regional MPO serving these counties would augment and enhance the current functions of the existing MPOs in the urban area as currently represented by the Pasco MPO, Forward Pinellas and the Hillsborough TPO. A regional MPO would provide a stronger and more collaborative regional focus and planning process. At the same time, it is important to maintain existing long range transportation planning responsibilities at the county level for sub-regional, jurisdiction focused projects to avoid creating a local void in planning and technical assistance activities.