Plans to significantly enhance Pinellas County’s transit system earned critical backing Monday, September 9th as a key group of planning, transportation and government leaders endorsed the Greenlight Pinellas Plan Vision. The unanimous vote signals an acceptance of more than three years of detailed engineering and technical work that is the foundation of the Greenlight Pinellas Plan. The innovative comprehensive transportation proposal calls for new bus service, future passenger rail, regional connections, and complementary transit-oriented land use. Monday’s vote sets the stage for financial implementation, planning, and a parallel Greenlight Pinellas public outreach process to be completed this Fall. These coordinated transportation planning efforts will allow the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners to approve the Greenlight Pinellas Plan and craft ballot language this December to prepare for a 1% transit sales tax referendum in November 2014.
The proposed transportation improvements include:
- Elimination of PSTA’s nearly 3/4 mill property tax when the potential 1% sales tax takes effect January 1, 2016
- A 65% increase in overall bus service throughout Pinellas County
- Rapid bus lines on most major Pinellas corridors.
- Buses running to and from Tampa and the airport in the evenings and on weekends
- Longer service hours to accommodate second shift workers and evening travelers
- Plans for a future passenger rail from St. Petersburg to Clearwater via the Gateway area
- A four-fold increase in bus service in northern Pinellas County
Key among the committee’s discussion points Monday was how the Greenlight plan was developed to capitalize on the successes of America’s top transit agencies, while also learning from and incorporating safeguards against unsuccessful practices made by others. “I am very excited about where we are now with this plan and what it means going forward,” said County Commissioner and PSTA Board Vice-Chair Ken Welch.
The ACPT is made up of elected officials as well as leaders from The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, PSTA, and the Pinellas Planning Council. The ACPT will be asked to formally endorse the final Greenlight Plan at its November 2013 meeting.
You can see the Greenlight Plan for yourself as well as the supporting study documentation on the Greenlight Pinellas website at www.greenlightpinellas.com.