Orlando GOP Congressman comes to Tampa to hear Bay area's upcoming transportation projects

Orlando area Congressman John Mica said today it was important that a rail component be centered at Tampa International Airport, which he said would increase flight traffic for the airport for those who would like to visit the Orlando area.

Saying that Orlando's airport took in more than 35 million people last year, Mica told a representative from TIA who said that approximately 19 million passengers used the airport last year that "We've got to get that up.  Way up."  And later, when hearing from Florida Dept. of Transportation's Don Skelton that all of the road work leading into TIA had been completed, Mica snapped, "It's been a mess."  When informed it's taken five years to finish up that work, the Congressman joked "It seemed much much more."

Those comments from Mica, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, were provocative in an otherwise relatively straight up roundtable discussion on transportation at Stetson Law School in Tampa today.  More than  30 local officials, including Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel and ConnectUs' Ed Turanchik were in attendance.