Road Warrior: Light rail debate heats up in Pinellas County

4:32 PM, Mar 3, 2014   |    comments
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Artist's computer rendering of a proposed light rail line in Pinellas County



Pinellas County, Florida -- With affirmative and dissenting groups now working tirelessly in Pinellas County to spread their views on light rail, the debate over whether the initiative is necessary is gaining a new element.

State Senator Jeff Brandes says, "the state is spending $400 million in road projects to help ease transportation."

Sen. Brandes says the influx of transportation funds allocated to the Tampa Bay area speaks volumes about how important the area is to the state's overall economic development.

Related: Gov. Scott's budget includes $279M for Tampa Bay transportation improvements

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman agrees but believes the road projects and the development of light rail are complimentary.

Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad says that the recent announcements of the Gateway Express project uniting U.S. 19, I-275 and the Bayside Bridge, as well as the new elevated Gandy expansion from I-275 over 4th Street, are being constructed independent of any mass transit plans, but that they are meant to help bring more commerce and real estate development to the Gateway area.

See Also: Gateway Express project worries drivers, businesses

And, those two projects will not be the last of the major construction announcements coming this year.

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