While Tampa is certainly experiencing a lot of growth in terms of the business community over the past few years, this does not mean the area is not without its issues. One of the biggest problems business owners have with Tampa concerns the interstates. They are concerned about how much traffic slows down during certain hours, which does not help any businesses. People being stuck in traffic means they are less productive, which means businesses are losing out on the money. In addition, the general public may be less likely to visit certain areas during rush hours because of how much traffic there is on the roads.
This is why major business leaders in the Tampa area have signed a statement where they want the government of Tampa to approve the new Tampa Bay Express interstate plan. This is a massive $6 billion plan to revamp the interstates in the Tampa area. Not only would it help with traffic in certain parts of the city, but it would also contribute to making it easier to get to and from certain neighborhoods. This is seen as a huge step in the right direction by the business community.
The first time this plan was endorsed by the corporate sector was a couple of months ago, but they have reiterated their support with the most recent statement. To get a sense for how many prominent business owners are looking to get behind this regional plan, you only need to see the list of names on the statement. Bryan Glazer, the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tom James from Raymond James Financial and Jeff Vinik, who is the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, are all lending their support behind this statement.
As of right now, the Tampa Bay Express plan was rejected by lawmakers, but this has made business owners extremely concerned about the future of their city. They believe that the state’s lawmakers need to sit up and take notice of the Tampa area. They do not want lawmakers to take more than a billion of the funds set aside for improving the public roads system and reallocate them to areas such as Orlando and Jacksonville. They are even more concerned that the Tampa Bay area’s politicians are showing no great enthusiasm to fix the “broken” interstate system in this city and its surroundings.
It remains to be seen what impact the statement from prominent businessmen will have, but it is clear that they have picked their side. A vote is expected near the end of June where the government will decide if the Tampa Bay Express plan is going to be a part of their Transportation Improvement Plan for the area and the entire state of Florida.