Press Release: Pinellas Transit Plan Earns National Honors

For immediate release: December 17, 2012

Who: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
What: Alternatives Analysis transit plan  is recognized as One of America’s Top 50 Public Transit Projects
When: December 11, 2012
Where: Throughout Pinellas County
How:  By meeting and exceeding planning criteria for transportation, environmental and fiscally responsible excellence

One of the Tampa Bay Area’s most lauded transportation projects has yet another honor to add to its trophy collection today. The advanced transportation plan, known as the Pinellas County Alternatives Analysis (AA), has been named as one of the country’s top 50 transportation projects by the Sierra Club.  In its report, “Smart Choices, Less Traffic: 50 Best and Worst Transportation Projects in the United States,” only three projects from the Sunshine State earned the honor of being among America’s top 50: the Pinellas AA, Sunrail in Orlando, and the Everglades Skyway.

The Pinellas AA (detailed at the website www.pinellasontrack.com) is the result of a ground-breaking partnership between PSTA, the Pinellas MPO, FDOT, and TBARTA. The project has been recognized and used as an example of outstanding multi-agency partnership by transportation officials nationwide. The AA studied the developing transportation needs in Pinellas County and with the help of massive public input, developed a plan to meet the growing demand for improved transportation and public transit both in Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay region. The Pinellas AA features significant increases in bus service throughout the county as part of a solid foundation for a light rail project from St. Petersburg to the Gateway/Carillon area and Downtown Clearwater.

Phil Compton, the Sierra Club’s Regional Representative for the Florida Healthy Air Campaign says that the Pinellas AA will “finally provide residents with the kind of transportation choices that most Americans take for granted. Expanding bus service throughout Pinellas, connecting our urban centers of Clearwater and St. Petersburg by light rail, and making the entire county a safer place to walk and ride a bike will remove serious barriers to our economic growth, while also cleaning up our heavily polluted air.”

The Sierra Club report states that “Americans can and should expect the dollars we spend on transportation to contribute to solving environment and economic problems. Smart transportation investments are already providing Americans with transportation options that reduce our dependence on oil, improve our air, water and public health and keep more money in local economies.”

Projects were reviewed on the basis of their impact on the following five areas:

  • Oil use
  • The environment
  • Public health
  • The economy
  • Land use

The Pinellas AA has also won outstanding project honors from the American Planning Association, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, and the Florida American Planning Association. In conjunction with the Pinellas AA, PSTA is now conducting an extensive analysis to find new ways to streamline, or realign, current bus service in the effort to provide more frequent and efficient service with existing resources. If you’d like to participate in the new Pinellas Community Bus Plan and help shape the future of transportation in Pinellas County, you are invited to complete a survey at www.busplan.psta.net.

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