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Rather than immerse this subject into the existing Public Transit thread (which I'm planning to reshape in a few months), I thought it would be a good idea to have a dedicated thread for broader topics relating to public transit, as well as inter-regional public transit discussions. This would include Commuter Rail from Hernando County to Hillsborough, Pinellas, and southward, as well as All Aboard Florida, High Speed Rail, and intercity bus service like Greyhound, Red Coach, and Megabus.

In the Florida Forum, Brian72 brought up a pretty good topic in the SunRail thread that could be discussed here, which is connecting Orlando to Tampa via rail.

We all know that beefing up our local systems will make it better for regional connections to happen (like if the Amtrak station in Tampa wasn't on the east end of DT). But I would like to get some discussion going as far as what we would like to see in terms of regional connections, whether it be All Aboard Florida, High Speed Rail, Commuter Rail, etc. Obviously better intercity bus service via Megabus is one step closer to being able to have an efficient regional transit system.
 

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A lot of focus seems to be in commuter rail from the north and inter-city rail from the east. But, I wonder if commuter rail from South Shore could be a viable first project - starting in Ruskin and terminating in downtown Tampa.
 

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I bet Scott is kicking himself in the ass for turning it down. It would have helped him get re-elected as he could have taken credit (wrongfully so) for driving growth across the state. Imagine if he had accepted and you mix the federal funds with private investment which no doubt would have followed coupled with the economy picking up steam!
He could, as he tries to do now, say he was working across party lines to "get Florida back to work"! ALL smoke and mirrors but the legions of cattle would have followed and given him a second term to continue to wreak havoc behind closed doors and rob our citizens where he can by changing rules and eliminating oversight!
Poor Trickety Rickety had a great opportunity but didn't see it since he was not yet a seasoned politician and missed the golden goose.
I would have taken it for the good of our region as it went elsewhere anyhow to grease some other region. By now, we would have had several modes of passenger rail under construction across the state which he could have taken credit for. Instead, he has to live with his missed opportunity and more than likely, exit from the big office.
 

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^^
That's what happens when Tea Party ideology gets in the way of progress.

BTW: I'll post more in the other transit thread, but Sharon Calvert is now calling the County decision to have HART take on a bigger transit role as a "HOSTILE TAKEOVER" Geez! This lady is a witch!
 

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She's thoroughly incompetent for any professional role in transportation planning is what she is. Her presence on the board is such an embarrassment that it raises questions about Rick Scott's competence for appointing her too.

To me, she's the poster child for the kind of person who should never, ever be placed in any kind of position of public trust or authority. When it comes to anything political, she operates on 100% prejudiced faith and ideology, 100% of the time.
 

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^^
That's what happens when Tea Party ideology gets in the way of progress.

BTW: I'll post more in the other transit thread, but Sharon Calvert is now calling the County decision to have HART take on a bigger transit role as a "HOSTILE TAKEOVER" Geez! This lady is a witch!

http://eyeontampabay.blogspot.com/2014/06/hostile-takeover-of-hart.html
No public input? Any changes to her precious existing HART board and acquiring the funding for such an agency will have to be approved by referendum, which is the ultimate form of public input.

Also, Vegas Monorail is a ghost train because 1) it was built by private entities, to service private entities and 2) like TECO Line, its livelihood is directly tied to the POIs it serves. And like TECO Line, it doesn't actually go anywhere considered convenient for the local population (in this case, McCarran International Airport).

Lovely straw man arguments all over the place there.
 

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Reminds me of Ronda Storms back then.
I logged in just to say this. Thanks. :cheers:

In large part I so prefer the ferry to go to Apollo Beach vs Gibsonton (need I say why?). So much more focused development potential in AB, even if it would be less accessible to commuters near the sprawl nearer to 75. A boy can dream of something more than a commuter ferry stop, right?
 

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The mouth of the Alafia is solid spot, but there'd be a significant loss of time coming up the river. Would probably take a solid 35 minutes to get into DT from there. Workable, though, for sure. No traffic issues either. No thing there, really.

I disagree about Apollo Beach. It's in the community's master plan, IIRC. I've always noticed great enthusiasm around the idea. There's really one one or two spots left for it, though -- the ship may have sailed. Unfortunately, the Bay is probably too rough to put it on the single most prime spot left on the Bay at the end of Apollo Beach Boulevard -- was a Ramada.

If they build in Gibsonton, I imagine the preferred future spot would be in Ruskin.

Regardless, this is a great step forward.
 

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The mouth of the Alafia is solid spot, but there'd be a significant loss of time coming up the river. Would probably take a solid 35 minutes to get into DT from there. Workable, though, for sure. No traffic issues either. No thing there, really.

I disagree about Apollo Beach. It's in the community's master plan, IIRC. I've always noticed great enthusiasm around the idea. There's really one one or two spots left for it, though -- the ship may have sailed. Unfortunately, the Bay is probably too rough to put it on the single most prime spot left on the Bay at the end of Apollo Beach Boulevard -- was a Ramada.

If they build in Gibsonton, I imagine the preferred future spot would be in Ruskin.

Regardless, this is a great step forward.
It's planned to dock at Big Bend Terminal, where Tampa Port Authority's dredging berth is. Under that scenario, it's possible that Adamsville Road would be rebuilt to lead directly to the ferry dock, as to avoid the railroad crossings and port traffic. Any other location will require dredging, environmental reviews, etc.. The location offers a roughly identical trip in terms of travel time to both Downtown St Petersburg and Downtown Tampa, which makes it easier to schedule regular service with Big Bend acting as a midpoint (3 ships at a 60 minute headway, alternating between destinations every 30 mins, transfer at Big Bend for ferry to MacDill AFB). 6 vessels are needed to provide a reliable service (3 on the Tampa<>Big Bend<>St Pete route, 2 on MacDill<>Big Bend and a maintenance spare). Service will begin with a lesser number of vessels, and likely no service to St Petersburg (that will come later, if the service is successful and Pinellas buys in).

Going up the Alafia is not a viable possibility, due to seasonal fluctuations in water level along the river. The Alafia itself isn't deep at all, 4-6 feet deep on average and impassable by large boat at lower water levels. Depth chart of the Alafia, as of 2012: http://www.hillsborough.wateratlas.usf.edu/upload/bathymetry/Alafia1054mpred.pdf. CSX is also a factor, as their bridge over the Alafia at US41 is a swing gate with a very small opening (which is closed a good part of the day for Tropicana, Mosaic, etc. trains). A small tourist-size boat could do it for part of the year, but with depths that shallow, you run into seasonal shutdowns.
 

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I was talking about where the county boat ramp is on the NW side of US41. I knew the water was shallow, but not that shallow, and I also thought they were using shallow draft hovercraft or something...

I should have looked at this first...



(I stumbled on this a few weeks ago, when I was looking to see if a levy/dike system could ever be built to protect much of the area from sea level rise... I'm not sure... maybe?)
 

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The main goal is to get service running ASAP and keep costs down until a water taxi becomes a proven solution. In terms of environmental/Army Corps of Engineers approval, any shortcuts that can be taken, will be taken.

Smaller taxis could eventually be displaced to Gibsonton, but you don't want multiple docks cannibalizing ridership until larger vessels are needed. Apollo Beach/Southshore is where development is hottest, so it's probably the most prudent starting point. Anything further north is likely too close to the Crosstown to have a strong effect.
 

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Thanks for the info. Totally forgot about that channel north of the power station. That's a really good idea, actually. Plenty of room. Could even do for some modest commercial waterfront development (even if the area's zoned heavy industrial).
 
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