Hillsborough TPO board votes on transportation project priority list Wednesday evening

The five-year plan of transportation projects across Hillsborough County gets its annual update this week.

The Hillsborough County Transportation Planning Organization Board of Directors public hearing on the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) for budget years 2024-25 through 2028-29 is scheduled during a meeting beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12th at the Hillsborough County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd.

Only projects in the TIP are eligible for federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway Administration. This year’s annual plan update ranks and prioritizes 113 projects that local governments have submitted in five focus areas- “Good Repair,” or maintaining infrastructure, vehicles, facilities and equipment; “Vision Zero” safety projects; “Real Choices” investments in the bus system and bike/pedestrian network; “Major Investments for Economic Development,” large-scale projects that enhance road or transit capacity; and “Smart Cities” projects that use technology and operation and design improvements to reduce travel time and congestion.

Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART) projects to replace radio systems, replace and maintain vehicles in the bus fleet, repair or replace the heavy maintenance facility and upgrade bus stops are among the “Good Repair” priorities this year. Each project is up for a significant amount of federal funding. 

Hillsborough County’s countywide road repaving program, a City of Tampa seawall reconstruction project along Bayshore Boulevard and a Tampa seawall reconstruction project along Bermuda Boulevard, which includes complete street improvements along Bermuda for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, are also among the “Good Repair” priorities.

Some top “Vision Zero” priorities include construction of safety upgrades on West Hillsborough Avenue and Sawyer Road and on 30th Street from East Yukon Street to east of Fowler Avenue. A resurfacing and complete streets project on Martin Luther King Blvd. from Dale Mabry to Armenia is also a high priority. 

Replacement of temporary traffic signals at Bayshore Boulevard and Euclid Avenue and Bayshore and Rome Avenue with permanent signals are among the new “Smart Cities” priorities in this year’s TIP update. Those temporary signals were installed in 2020 after multiple crashes involving speeding vehicles, including crashes that killed a mother walking with her baby, a jogger and a cyclist.

New “Real Choices” priorities include bike boulevard and multimodal enhancements along Seventh Avenue between Nuccio Parkway and Ola Avenue, a premium transit system linking downtown Tampa and Tampa International Airport; and HART circulator transit routes in the downtown and USF areas.

A future bus rapid transit system to connect downtown to USF, which seeks $5 million from the federal Surface Transportation Block Grant program, is among the new additions to the “Major Investments for Economic Development” project list. A HART study on the potential use of the CSX rail corridor for passenger service; extension of the Interstate 275 Greenway from West Shore Boulevard to the Hillsborough River; the construction of noise walls and multimodal improvements along I-275 from Hillsborough and Bearss are also in the plan.

AN FDOT project to widen US 92 to the Polk County line; upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems of the Cass Street Bridge; structural, electrical, mechanical and pedestrian safety upgrades to the Brorein Street Bridge; and road widening projects along Gibsonton Drive are some of the other major projects.

As a clearinghouse for information on construction projects in Hillsborough County, the TIP also includes the approved capital projects lists of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority, the Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART), the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and the Hillsborough County Transportation Disadvantaged Program. The Florida Department of Transportation’s project list for this area is also included.

The TPO Board of Directors includes five members of the Hillsborough County Commission, three Tampa City Council members, the mayor of Plant City, the vice mayor of Temple Terrace, a Hillsborough County School Board member, the chair of the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission, the CEO of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority; the director of the Tampa Port Authority; the executive director and CEO of the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority; and the CEO of HART.

Wednesday’s meeting also includes a presentation on the results of an online survey to get community input on priorities for the ACCESS 2050 long-range transportation plan and a presentation on a Vision Zero study of Sligh and Waters avenues.

For those who cannot attend, Wednesday’s meeting will be streamed live on YouTube. 

For more information on the meeting, go to June TPO agenda.

For more information on the Transportation Improvement Plan and its project list, go to TIP update.
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Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry has been a writer for the 83 Degrees Media team since 2017. Chris also served as the development editor for a time before assuming the role of managing editor in May 2022. Chris lives in Clearwater. His professional career includes more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys the local music scene, the warm winters and Tampa Bay's abundance of outdoor festivals and events. When he's not working or spending time with family, he can frequently be found hoofing the trails at one of Pinellas County's nature parks.