Much like other large metropolitan areas in the United States, crash safety data and road maintenance (pavement wear; potholes) are the two primary factors that determine rankings. priorities for transportation projects in the Tampa Bay area.
When considering the state of transportation in any city, the long, wide-angle view is important, as transportation projects are multi-million dollar processes that take place in three phases: planning, design. and construction.
Phases are often budgeted over one or more fiscal years, and each phase requires higher costs than the previous one; culminating with the highest expense during the final phase when construction workers build the roads that have been planned over years of community engagement and data research to identify needs and strategize to better design .
Three major transportation projects in East Tampa are currently meeting urgent needs identified by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Vision Zero: City of Tampa, and Vision Zero Hillsborough.
Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate fatal traffic accidents and increase fair mobility adopted by metropolitan agencies across Europe and the United States since the 1990s. The County Transportation Planning Organization Hillsborough and the City of Tampa launched Vision Zero programs in 2016 and 2019, respectively. Grants acquired through Vision Zero are essential funding arms for local transportation safety and equity projects.
The city’s three major projects in East Tampa recently completed or currently underway are:
Each of these projects was identified because of the high accident rates and the need for road repaving.
Local officials emphasize the value of grants for these and other road safety projects – especially in lieu of the Florida Supreme Court’s February 2021 overturning of the one cent “All for Transportation” surcharge approved by the 2018 voter in Hillsborough County, who officials said would have quadrupled the annual budget for improved transportation, including public bus service to East Tampa.
Hillsborough County leaders are in the process of introducing a modified penny surcharge on the ballot in November 2022.
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