Kevin Ambler for Florida Senate
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TRANSPORTATION - Getting there is half the battle...

Kevin Ambler with school childern

Traffic congestion affects everyone. As this area continues to grow, the stress on our roads has risen exponentially. Even though the cost of building roads are paid for (and sometimes shared) by counties, the state, and the federal government, in the past the coordination and cooperation between the three, and even between adjacent counties, like Hillsborough and Pasco, has been difficult. That is why two years ago, I helped spearhead the effort, as part of the team of local legislators, in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Partnership, to pass a bill creating the Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA)—a new entity that has the legal authority to plan, design, fund, and build cost-effective transportation solutions for a seven county regional area that includes Pasco, Hillsborough, Hernando, Citrus, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties. More importantly, the creation of TBARTA has now allowed our region to be eligible to draw down hundreds of millions of dollars in federal transportation grant dollars that are only available to areas with regional transit authorities. During my last 7 years in the House of Representatives, we have succeeded in bringing hundreds of millions of additional transportation dollars to our area for much needed road improvements and I have voted to add over $4 billion to transportation spending throughout the state. One such success that I am particularly proud of came two years ago when I secured $15 million in the budget to specifically help ease the anticipated congestion associated with the building of a new high school in Lutz by funding a new on/off ramp at the Lutz Lake Fern Road interchange on the Veteran’s Expressway. But new and expanded roads are not the only answer. We must continue to explore the most fuel efficient and cost effective ways to improve commuter times and relieve congestion while still being able to grow as a community. This means we must carefully examine and be open to such intermodal transportation solutions as light rail, increased express bus lanes and car pool lanes, local shuttles, and award winning innovations like the reversible lanes built on an elevated deck for the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (formerly the Crosstown Expressway). All of these solutions are possible if we work together and are smart about future transportation spending.

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