Consideration is underway to merge the Tampa Bay region’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties into a single Tampa Bay MPO. The merger would create a tri-county council of city and county elected officials to agree on plans and priorities for funding major roads, public transit, greenway trails and other transportation improvements.
Citizens of the region are encouraged to complete the Tampa Bay MPO survey to share your thoughts on the creation of a consolidated regional MPO. Your voice is needed, as the costs and benefits of merging into a regional MPO are being considered. The three MPOs have launched this short survey for you to weigh in on what is important to your local community, your county and the entire Tampa Bay region. The survey is open through Sunday, August 20. Please take and share this important survey at https://metroquestsurvey.com/hmu02?c=media.
For about 30 years, there have been discussions about forming a multicounty MPO to serve the Greater Tampa-St. Petersburg urbanized area. Advocates said a single regional transportation planning body will be better able to harness the collective strength of the region’s leaders to garner more federal and state funding to advance significant transportation projects. Critics point to diverse local communities with very different character and transportation needs and are concerned that citizens across our region’s urban, suburban and rural communities may have less of a voice or that funding priorities may favor major highways over local needs.
“Hillsborough wants to work with its regional partners for the betterment of all our communities,” said Commissioner Gwen Myers, Hillsborough TPO.
This past spring, the Florida Legislature passed a law requiring the three MPOs to submit a study by Sunday, December 31 on the benefits, costs and process of merging. This study is a find-the-way to fulfill the requirements set by the legislature. Concurrently, the three MPOs are considering signing a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) that sets forth a framework and necessary steps for completing a merger by July 2027. Each MPO will individually consider executing the MOU that lays out the framework to balance leveraging regional power while still serving the best interests and vision for local communities.
Your voice matters in this process, so please take and share the regional Tampa Bay MPO survey today. Additional information about the proposed merger can be found on the Sun Coast Transportation Planning Alliance website at https://suncoasttpa.org/regional-plans/tampa-bay-mpo/.