Friday, October 1, 2010

Behind the Headlines

Here's a Friday round-up of a few news stories this week that covered HART or public transportation in the Tampa Bay area.

Public Voices Opinions
Over the past year, HART held 366 public meetings to give Hillsborough County residents a chance to get information and voice their opinions on transit's present and future. This week, HART continued listening to public input on the Rapid Transit Investment Plan, as these two St. Petersburg Times stories report.

HART hears from the public about alternative transportation
By Kim Wilmath, Times Staff Writer
Sunday, September 26

Tampa's proposed light rail routes up for more discussion
By Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer
Thursday, September 30

Learning by Example
ABC Action News anchor Brendan McLaughlin recently did a story he called "What Hillsborough Can Learn from a Train in the Desert," based on the success of the new Valley Metro light rail line in Phoenix. What he found in the Valley of the Sun was that "working mothers, students and business commuters are finding the trains useful and reliable."

What Hillsborough can learn from a train in the desert
By Brendan McLaughlin
Tuesday, September 28
ABC Action News (Channel 28)

HART Leaders Meet the Press
On Wednesday, HART Board member Wallace Bowers and CEO David Armijo sat down with the editorial board of the Florida Sentinel Bulletin. The large African-American readership of this local paper is an important HART constituent, so addressing their concerns about service and future plans is vital. Since the story is not available online, we've included the entire text of the article below.

"Sentinel Editorial Board Meets with HART CEO, Board Member"
September 28, 2010
Florida Sentinel Bulletin

The Sentinel Editorial Board met for more than two hours last Wednesday with David J. Armijo, Chief Executive Officer for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), and (Rev.) Wallace Bowers, a member of the HART Board. They were joined by Mayor Pam Iorio and former Congressman, Jim Davis.

The meeting was to discuss the Transit System’s expansion and its effect on the African American community from the ground level.

Much of the discussion centered on the proposed 1-cent sales tax that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. If passed, revenue from the tax is slated to improve local transit service right away, and begin the process of light rail for the Tampa community.

Members of the Sentinel Editorial Board still have concerns about the African American community being burdened with the tax, more than other communities.

Armijo indicated that the improved bus service would double the bus fleet and employees, and provide shorter waiting times. HART is expected to manage the light rail.

Board member Randolph Kinsey told the HART group that there is concern for the Black community because nine out of 10 times when dollars are levied, the African American community is omitted.

Board member Kay Andrews’ concern is that there is no policy in place that will guarantee any African American participation in anything.

Board member Warren H. Dawson said his concern is that there is no business plan as to how HART will proceed.

HART has been holding open houses throughout the community to share its plans.

HART Board member Bowers said his board is considering several avenues to make sure the African American community is included. They are about to begin a federally mandated disparity study.

Kinsey also inquired about creating a level playing field for small African American businesses. Armijo said everyone has to be made aware. He said it’s important to find ways for smaller firms to partner with larger firms.

Sentinel Editorial board member Wilbert Malphus had concerns about the goals that are included in construction jobs, but are not actually carried through. Rubin Padgett had the same concerns. Bowers said his board is putting together a mandate that will work this out. Malphus also inquired about the professionals who are involved now in this process.

Lots of news in HART's monthly community newsletter
More News from HART - October Community Newsletter Available
Each month, HART puts out an e-newsletter called "A Community with HART," with great content like a message from a HART Board member, updates on projects and plans, and a profile of a HART customer. This month's edition is chock-full of info like that, plus a lot more.

Check it out on our website here, and be sure to sign up to have it delivered right to your in-box!

1 comment:

  1. Also one in the Tampa Bay Business Journal:


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