More support for Tampa Bay Express ProjectComments Off on More support for Tampa Bay Express Project
The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce joins others in expressing support for the Tampa Bay Express Project, calling it an economic development opportunity for the entire Tampa Bay region.
- Tampa Bay Express Project involves adding express toll lanes to I-4, I-275, I-75 and replacing the Howard Frankland Bridge
- Right now, much of the project is in the study phase of development
“It’s the number one thing that people are talking about when they are trying to move a business, is the transportation. That and education,” explained the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce President Cory Skeates. “Anytime you can take congestion off of major interstates like I-4 , that’s going to help with our distribution and logistics businesses that we’ve been bringing to the area and it will also encourage new businesses to come here."
The Tampa Bay Express Project is a $ 3 billion endeavor. That long-term endeavor involves adding express toll lanes to I-4, I-275, I-75 and replacing the Howard Frankland Bridge. Drivers would be given the choice to use the toll lanes to avoid congestion while paying a toll with a SunPass.
“I would do it because I would be able to get home to my kids. Spend time with my kids more,” said Marianna Rivas, who commutes between Plant City and Tampa daily.
“I don’t like that because people live paycheck to paycheck. Not everybody is going to be able to afford to take a road that you have to pay on so they’re going to continue to sit in the congestion on the interstate,” added Angela Schell, of Lakeland.
Folks living in neighborhoods near the interstate also expressed opposition.
Right now, much of the project is in the study phase of development. For it to move forward, it will need the support of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which is set to vote on the proposal June 22, during a public hearing. The public hearing will be held in the Board of County Commission Chambers, on the second floor, which is located at 601 E. Kennedy Blvd, in Tampa.
If the MPO votes against adding the project to its Transportation Improvement Plan, the project could lose its funding and the $ 3billion could be directed toward another part of the state, said Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson Kristen Carson.