Our Transit Vision

Rapid transit is essential in fast-growing regions like ours, providing an alternative to congested highways. Though today our counties and voters have not yet decided to invest in such a system, the preliminary planning has been done. The SCTPA will continue to bring opportunities forward to strengthen transit systems within communities and link them across county lines.

SCENARIOS FOR REGIONAL GROWTH:

“IT’S TIME TAMPA BAY”

In 2018, the Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco County MPOs asked their citizens to identify priorities for land use and transportation and consider several very different scenarios for future growth. Nearly 10,000 citizens responded to the online survey, setting a national record for participation in an online interactive survey.

 

Our residents overwhelmingly supported expanding local, regional and statewide rail and bus transit services.

Train on track

Bus Rapid Transit

PSTA was recently awarded funding for the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor in the region with the Central Avenue BRT, known as the Sun Runner. HART is currently looking at a BRT corridor connecting the University area and downtown Tampa. These BRT routes will provide more accessibility and connectivity throughout the region, and include possible future expansion to Lakeland, Winter Haven, and along US 41.

Reusing Freight Rail Tracks

The region has an extensive network of freight rail lines that have potential for commuter passenger rail. With the support of the SCTPA, HART is studying the feasibility of adding passenger service on the CSX-owned freight corridor from Downtown Tampa to the University Area. Future opportunities include expansions to Land O’ Lakes and Brooksville; Oldsmar, Clearwater, and St Petersburg; South Tampa; Plant City and Lakeland; and Bradenton and Sarasota.

Water Transit

Since Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee Counties are largely separated by Tampa Bay, there’s a great opportunity for water transit with the implementation of ferry service. During 2017-2020, a Cross Bay Ferry connecting Downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, evenings and weekends during the tourist season, had very successful ridership and public attention. A commuter ferry route has been proposed to connect South Hillsborough County with MacDill Air Force Base, and a connection to Bradenton has also been studied.

Light Rail Transit

The City of Tampa is currently working with HART to modernize and extend the TECO Historic Streetcar, through the Downtown business core and connect to the bus transit hub next to I-275. This has been named a regional priority for future Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants, assuming local matching funds can be raised. Future extensions could connect to Tampa neighborhoods, the Westshore Business District and Tampa International Airport.

We also emphasize the creation and expansion of the trails.

Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area’s (TMA) Position on Transit Funding