How should transportation decisions be made in our region?
~~ Tampa Bay MPO merger: Your opinion please. ~~
TAMPA BAY, FL — July 20, 2023 – Consideration is underway to merge the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties into a single Tampa Bay MPO. The merger would create a tri-county council of city and county elected officials to agree on plans and priorities for funding major roads, public transit, greenway trails, and other transportation improvements.
Citizens of the region are encouraged to complete the Tampa Bay MPO survey to share your thoughts on creation of a consolidated regional MPO. Your voice is needed as the costs and benefits of merging into a regional MPO are being considered. The three MPOs have launched a short survey for you to weigh in on what is important to your local community, your county, and the entire Tampa Bay region. The survey is open through Sunday, August 20, 2023. Please take and share this important survey at: https://metroquestsurvey.com/hmu02?c=media
For about 30 years, there have been discussions about forming a multi-county MPO to serve the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg urbanized area. Advocates say a single regional transportation planning body will be better able to harness the collective strength of the region’s leaders to garner more federal and state funding to advance significant transportation projects. Critics point to diverse local communities with very different character and transportation needs and are concerned that citizens across our region’s urban, suburban, and rural communities may have less of a voice or that funding priorities may favor major highways over local needs.
“Hillsborough wants to work with its regional partners for the betterment of all our communities.” – Commissioner Gwen Myers, Hillsborough TPO
“Pasco County is one of the fastest growing counties in the State. That growth requires regional transportation solutions that cross governmental boundaries.” – Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, Pasco MPO
“The many years of regional meetings among the MPO’s are finally bearing fruit. I’m excited to move forward on regional transportation needs while balancing local transportation priorities.” – Commissioner Janet Long, Forward Pinellas
This past spring, the Florida Legislature passed a law requiring the three MPOs to submit a study by December 31, 2023, on the benefits, costs, and process of merging. This study is a find-the-way to fulfill the requirements set by the Legislature. Concurrently, the three MPOs are considering signing a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets forth a framework and necessary steps for completing a merger by July 2027. Each MPO will each individually consider executing the MOU that lays out the framework to balance leveraging regional power while still serving the best interests and vision for local communities.
Your voice matters in this process, so please take and share the regional Tampa Bay MPO survey today!
The survey asks:
- What considerations are important in planning for transportation improvements?
- If you were to set priorities for funding transportation projects, what would you choose?
- Where should decisions about your community’s roads/transit/greenways be made?
Additional information about the proposed merger can be found HERE.
For questions or media interviews, please contact:
- Beth Alden, AICP | Hillsborough TPO Executive Director | email@example.com
- Carl Mikyska | Pasco MPO Executive Director | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whit Blanton, FAICP | Forward Pinellas Executive Director | email@example.com
To learn more, please visit https://suncoasttpa.org/regional-plans/tampa-bay-mpo/ or follow @SunCoastTPA on Facebook and Twitter.