Imagine 2040 : Part 2…You told us more!
More than 2,400 citizens spoke up in July and August for the future of transportation. Over an 8-week period, culminating with an interactive display at Florida’s Largest Home Show over Labor Day weekend. Opinions were sought on transportation needs from a wide spectrum of groups at 65 events as well as from the comfort of people’s offices and homes online. A partnership between the Hillsborough MPO and the Planning Commission, Imagine 2040 was a cooperative and collaborative exercise for working together with the citizens, businesses, and other community stakeholders, as well as our planning partners including the the Transportation for Economic Development Policy Leadership Group and the jurisdictions we serve.
Staff sifted through thousands of data points and individual comments about Hillsborough County’s transportation future. So, what did the public say?
Asked what we need to do to plan for growth? respondents ranked:
#1 Encouraging walkable places Followed by:
- Filling in and reusing already developed areas
- Building homes near transit
Asked where they would invest limited funding on transportation? Responses uniformly agreed that more needs to be spent to preserve the system, reduce crashes and vulnerability, minimize traffic for drivers and shippers, and provide real choices when not driving.
The survey also asked citizens to give “thumbs up or down” for funding big-ticket items such as major road widening, express toll lanes or rapid transit systems to promote jobs and economic growth. By far, survey respondents gave a big “thumbs up” to investing in greater downtown Tampa, where rail would connect to USF and TIA. Other top choices, in order, were roads serving USF and medical centers, Brandon West, new express toll lanes on Interstate highways, MacDill AFB (including the high speed ferry), and Westshore and Rocky Point.
Fully 82% of respondents exceeded the 20-year budget of $5.5 billion in existing revenues. Most participants on the Imagine 2040 : Part 2 interactive website selected transportation programs and projects totaling $7 – $9 billion. Those who participated in the audience polling at meeting or events were asked how they would handle the shortfall. Most opted to raise taxes and fees, but some wanted to spend less on programs and projects.
Seven out of ten survey takers left their zip codes. Responses came from all over and mirrored the distribution of population across the County.
So what does it all mean? Results from Imagine 2040 : Part 2 feed directly into recommend spending priorities in the draft 2040 Transportation Plan, which is highlighted in the article above. For more information, see the Imagine 2040 : Part 2 Public Engagement Report.