Five-Year Improvement Program includes TBX, with caveats

TIP Public Hearing on TBXOn June 22nd, the MPO Board held what was probably one of the largest and most well attended public hearings in its history. Hundreds of involved and engaged citizens came to voice their concerns for and against projects in the Transportation Improvement Program, including Tampa Bay Express (TBX). The TBX project will expand portions of I-275 and I-4, creating new express toll lanes through Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa, making connections to Pasco, Polk, and Pinellas Counties. TBX includes rebuilding the Downtown and Westshore Interchanges as well as the Howard Frankland Bridge, along with other improvements. With 185 speakers and hundreds of attendees, public comments went well into the following morning with each speaker having three minutes to express their view.

All board members stayed to hear everyone, and after careful consideration voted 12 to 4 to approve the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for fiscal years 2017 to 2021 with the following conditions on inclusion of TBX, which is still at the early stages of development:

  • A structure of continued communication and feedback created whereby officials from FDOT regularly update the board concerning TBX, answer questions, and provide updates on mitigation efforts, community engagement, and status of the Project Development and Environment Study (PD&E)
  • A presentation from FDOT on the Re-evaluation Study to the MPO prior to a Public Hearing in Spring 2017 to include considerations and commitments that FDOT is prepared to make, including toll lanes review, design elements, and formation of a community work group, and that the document will remain open after the public hearing for a 14-day comment period to be followed by FDOT’s assessment of the public comments and input from the MPO, then finalizing the document before it is submitted for approval
  • Additional information be provided to the MPO Board for informed decisions in future years, including:
  • A final study and report on human impacts and how to pay for replacing them, including a map showing parcels of all homes, apartments, and businesses, noting those that are considered affordable housing, that are affected by the project
  • A final neighborhood mitigation plan for displaced residents and businesses, including design elements
    Completed environmental impact studies for each segment, including the I-275/I-4 PD&E re-evaluation study
  • Traffic and revenue studies that would analyze and provide justification for toll lanes
  • Report on the FDOT-sponsored premium transit study conducted by HART, to include consideration of the CSX-owned rail corridors
    Status updates on the Federal Civil Rights investigation of the TBX project

The Board also requested FDOT provide information on the losses to the City of Tampa in ad valorem tax revenue using FDOT’s most recent right-of-way acquisition map as well as the costs of operations and maintenance of any community impact mitigation treatments associated with the TBX project, and the impact to air quality resulting from TBX prior to any additional MPO Board vote on funding for TBX segments 5, 6, 7, and 8. The approved TIP includes:

  • Segment 4: I-275/SR60 (Westshore) Interchange: ROW and Engineering throughout the 5 years, $327M
  • Segment 7: I-275 Express Lanes from N of Busch to N of MLK, $67M Design Build in FY2021
  • Segment 8: I-4 Express Lanes, Selmon Connector to CR579/Mango Rd, $235M Design Build in FY2021
  • Segment 6: I-275/I-4 (Downtown) Interchange:
  • FY2017: $493,000 for ROW, $5,000 for design
  • FY2021: $58 million for design

The TIP is the five-year work program identifying project funding and phases in the first five years of the MPO’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The TIP includes $1.8 billion in funding, including roadway resurfacing, bridge maintenance, walk/bike improvements, intersection and signal improvements, bus replacement, and roadway capacity improvements. Project highlights include:

  • Resurface Hillsborough Ave from Central Ave to 56th St – 2018
  • HART Replacement Buses – $24M, 2017 thru 2021
  • Collins St Complete Street – Construction added for 2018
  • Walk/Bike Improvements – Columbus Dr, Rome Ave, 46th St, Bayshore Blvd, and Willow Ave
  • Florida Ave intersection improvements at Bird St and Waters Ave – construction added to 2018
  • Dale Mabry Advanced Traffic Management System, $3.6M – 2018
  • Tampa Advanced Traffic Management System, $37.6M for construction 2017-2020
  • HART’s Airport/Kennedy Blvd MetroRapid PD&E, $2.5M – 2018
  • Apollo Beach Blvd Extension from US41 to Paseo al Mar – 2021
  • HART Premium Transit Feasibility Study – $1.5M
  • US92 Design Phases – US301 to CR579/Mango Rd and
  • Park to Polk County Line

For more information, please visit our TIP webpage or contact Sarah McKinley, 813/273-3774 x382.