In the past couple of days, several Tampa mayoral candidates have released position papers reflecting their priorities if elected to office.
Ed Turanchik, who produced his initial public policy position paper in December, has now come up with a new proposal which he's calling TBNnet, which would be establishing a 5-mile transit, building and new energy technology innovation corridor connecting Tampa International Airport, downtown Tampa, the scheduled to be built high speed rail station downtown, and Ybor City.
Read more of that below:
The transit component would initially feature dedicated bus service operating on existing rights of way. Some retooling of existing streets and traffic flows would likely be required, but these would be nominal. Enhancements of the system could be done incrementally, with gradual expansion of public rights of way to accommodate bus rapid transit lanes and redevelopment of street corridors to a more urban, higher density form. This change would not occur overnight, but would be based upon market dynamics, which in turn would be accelerated due to the nature and commitment to this corridor. This incremental approach would lay a powerful foundation for eventual qualification for federal funding of light rail.
I also propose to pursue the development of innovative building and energy technology alternatives in this corridor in collaboration with leading universities and technology institutes, such as the Florida Solar Energy Research Center. My work in the housing industry, training at the Florida Solar Energy Research Center, and personal involvement with building products and energy systems has familiarized me with the vast opportunities and wide range of innovation occurring in this sector. I envision this corridor as a working and dynamic real world laboratory for the design and implementation of competing building and alternative energy technologies.
I envision working with TECO, the state of Florida, and the U.S. Department of Energy to establish a smart grid in this corridor. New homes and businesses would be configured with electric and gas hookups for emerging alternative fuel vehicles as well as solar photovoltaic systems as they become economically viable. I believe TECO is well poised to become a facile, innovative utility provider given its prudent fiscal policies of the past decade and its relative freedom from being encumbered by major power plant undertakings.
Initial funding for the various aspects of this corridor would come from existing revenues, grants, private sector investment, new market tax credits and establishment of a potential tax increment transit financing district. This district would be designed to capture incremental gains in property tax revenue, to be used to leverage the redevelopment of the corridor in a manner consistent with its design and purpose. This approach is consistent with Hillsborough County Chairman Al Higginbothams interest in finding alternative ways to fund transit enhancements.
I believe this corridor would place Tampa on the cutting edge of 21st century innovation and attract new industry and talent, all the while providing a more livable and sustainable urban growth corridor for our future.