Our conversations will began with 13 open house style workshops throughout the county, including a telephone town hall meeting. We were seeking to understand how transportation impacts your daily life.

We talked through things that range from basic health and safety – such as getting a fire engine or ambulance to reach one of your children – to where you live, when (and how) you get to work. We even discussed how products get to and from local stores and the importance of considering our environment. We wanted to understand the perspectives of as many people, businesses and organizations as we possibly could.

As we engaged with you, we will shared some basic facts. Some of that information is below, and even more was available at our workshops. It was intended to be helpful to you. Of course, please share additional information with us.

And the worse it gets, the more it costs. Of all the expenses associated with maintaining and improving our community’s standard of living, transportation is one of the most costly.

It is important to realize that over the last 20 years, Hillsborough County has managed to invest $1.3 billion in road maintenance and safety transportation projects, including $950 million for road and related improvements without cutting other essential services.

REALITY CHECK: More than half of the Community Investment Tax has been spent on transportation. It has also paid for schools, libraries, parks, fire stations and other public safety needs.

Ref: Hillsborough County Budget Department, 2015

But even at that, we are facing $750 million in maintenance backlogs. To make matters worse, federal, state and developer funding is simply inadequate.

REALITY CHECK: Under state law, developers are no longer responsible for the cost of reducing or eliminating existing deficiencies in our transportation network.

Ref: FS 163.3180

Transportation is the #1 issue affecting a community’s decline of quality of life, economic stability and growth. As transportation degrades, we lose good jobs and property values are undermined. This creates a ripple effect that results in less funding for our already challenged public education and public service systems.

REALITY CHECK: Driving on roads in need of repair costs Florida motorists $2.5B annually in extra vehicle repairs and operations – that’s $181.43 per motorist.

Ref: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

Continued sprawl will decrease our open space for agricultural and rural land just as longer commutes and daily trips will create more air pollution and degrade water quality with oil and particle runoff.

It’s critical to our community’s safety and well-being that we maintain our roads to support our emergency management – that’s fire trucks, police vehicles, ambulances and evacuation corridors. Equally important is ensuring that drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists can travel safely along all streets.

REALITY CHECK: Tampa Bay is ranked among the worst in the nation for pedestrian crash fatalities.

Ref: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "2009 Ranking of STATE Pedestrian Fatality Rates – State: USA"