First light-rail line could extend north past Tampa airport
The first phase of a light-rail line that could connect downtown and Tampa International Airport may extend 1.1 miles north beyond the airport terminal to Hillsborough Avenue, HART planners said Monday night.
That could create a station with connections between the light-rail line and bus services from the north and west, said Mary Shavalier, HART's chief of planning and program development.
The HART board won't decide until its Oct. 18 meeting at the earliest whether the downtown-airport route would be the first to be built if county voters approve a 1-cent-on-the-dollar sales tax Nov. 2 to fund light rail and other mobility improvements.
The HART staff is expected to provide additional details on ridership projections on east-west and north-south corridors to the board on Oct. 18 . The staff also will give recommendations on whether rail or buses would be the better choice for spurring development along the routes.
Light rail has been the focus of discussion for months, but the federal government requires multiple options be considered.
The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization recommended that light rail is preferable to bus rapid transit in part because rail has shown to be better suited to promoting new development and redevelopment along routes, a Sept. 10 MPO letter to HART said.
The MPO's recommendation is informational and nonbinding.