Monday, August 27, 2012

Clearwater, Fla., backs LRT development

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Clearwater, Fla., has added its name to the list of those supporting development of a light rail transit (LRT) system for the Tampa Bay area, despite opposition from some self-described fiscal conservatives.

A resolution passed by the City Council Aug. 16 notes that the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority has developed a regional master plan for transit, with the authority and Florida's Department of Transportation overseeing feasibility study that calls for a new eastbound span of the Howard Frankland Bridge to have "a cross bay exclusive transit link."

The Clearwater resolution calls for "a premium bus connection" along State Road 60 to Hillsborough County. "The city of Clearwater recognizes that regional Light Rail Transit is crucial to the sustainable growth and development of the Tampa Bay Region" and is consistent with the city's Comprehensive Plan, the resolution says.

Last February in neighboring Pinellas County, the county's Project Advisory Committee formally adopted a proposal to build 24 miles of light rail transit linking St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, and Gateway. Absent in the proposal was any link to Tampa itself, located across Tampa Bay in Hillsborough County, since Hillsborough County had failed to commit to LRT.