Last night, we kicked off the first of 36 interactive workshops. With more than 45 people in attendance, the momentum was clear. It was raining cats and dogs outside yet all of these citizens joined us anyway.

We heard many opinions about what our Community Transportation Plan should look like, including choices that could positively impact their lives every day. Citizens were eager to prioritize their preferred projects, and there were some clear trends. Expanded and new transit received the most votes with a lot of discussion and questions about light rail technology. Participants were also keenly interested in improving safety for sidewalks and bicycles sidewalks and bicycle safety, enhancing our roads to include complete streets, and increasing frequency of our existing buses. Everyone was respectful, engaged and excited to be moving forward.

Some folks were amazed when they learned that Hillsborough County is as big as Rhode Island. Others learned that based for every $1 of property tax to the County, only 2 cents actually goes to transportation! (The majority goes to public safety: law enforcement, courts, fire rescue and more.) We talked a lot about the difficulty our community is having keeping up with our infrastructure, and that we are facing $750m million in maintenance needs.

Our next workshop is tomorrow night in at Town N Country Regional Library, 7606 Paula Drive #120, Tampa, FL 33615. These are open-style workshops so arrive anytime between 6 – 8p.m. You can read the info, ask questions, and do some thoughtful (and fun) exercises at your own pace. We hope to see you there!