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TBARTA Asks Tampa Bay Residents To Help Plan For Future

Beginning Thursday, April 14, residents in the seven counties that comprise the Tampa Bay region will be able to participate in shaping the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority's (TBARTA) master plan, the update of which will include the addition of freight and road networks, airports and seaports as well as the impact of new federal air quality regulations.

Residents of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Citrus, Sarasota, Manatee, Pasco and Hernando counties will be able to participate in six telephone "Town Hall" meetings by dialing a toll-free number that will be posted online at www.tbarta.com. The dates are as follow:

Thursday, April 14 - Sarasota County
Tuesday, April 19 - Hillsborough County
Thursday, April 21 - Pasco County
Monday, April 25 - Citrus and Hernando counties
Tuesday, April 26 - Manatee County
Wednesday, April 27 - Pinellas County

TBARTA spokesperson Amy Ellis cautions that the expanded plans will not overhaul what is already in place.

"With the master plan update, we are not 'recreating the wheel,' " says Ellis. "What we are doing is bringing all of the plans in the region together in one place. This way, we can ensure that all areas are covered and we can more easily identify the most important priorities. This includes the transit network, the roadways, freight network, airports and seaports.

"It isn't necessarily an expansion of these facilities, although there are some projects underway or in the works. The I-4 Connector, for example, is under construction and will connect the Port of Tampa to I-4, making it much easier for trucks carrying freight to travel to and from the Port. A similar project has been identified as needed in the Manatee area -- a better roadway connection to Port Manatee."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Amy Ellis, Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority
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