County Center was the site of today's monthly meeting of the HART Board of Directors. Let's hit the highlights:
Thank You, Councilman Dingfelder
After five years of service on the HART Board, former Tampa City Councilman John Dingfelder bid adieu today to his colleagues at the transit agency. Mr. Dingfelder, who resigned his City Council seat to pursue a spot on the Hillsborough County Commission, was an active, enthusiastic member of the HART Board. After receiving a commemorative crystal bus mounted on a wooden pedestal, Mr. Dingfelder noted the need for a diverse board to work together.
"When you serve on a Board like this, that's multijurisdictional, including city and county representatives, Temple Terrace, and the private sector, we all work together for the betterment of this community," Mr. Dingfelder said. "I'm proud of what we accomplished, and I'll be with you all the way to November and help in any way I can (for the referendum)."
Welcome, Councilman Stokes
Due to Mr. Dingfelder's departure, the HART Board welcomed its newest member, Tampa City Councilman Curtis Stokes. Councilman Stokes, former president of the Hillsborough County NAACP, was named to City Council in July to replace the departing Linda Saul-Sena.
Reviewing the Plans
Self-help gurus are always saying something like, "how do you know where you're going if you don't know how to get there?" In other words, you gotta have a plan. At HART, we spend a lot of time and effort looking ahead, planning how to get where we need to be - which is providing the absolute best service we can with the resources available.
The Board got an overview today of a couple of HART's roadmaps to the future - the Transit Development Plan and the Alternatives Analysis.
The Transit Development Plan, or TDP, is something we update every year as part of our requirement for a $3.5 million grant. This year's effort is considered a minor update, with a more in-depth update to come next year. The TDP takes a look at local needs and what would be needed to meet them, including countywide services and projects, rapid transit in corridors currently being studied, flex service, and more local and express service.
One area of need identified that the Board took interest in at the meeting was local connection to the new high-speed rail (HSR) station planned for the north end of downtown. The plan notes that HART will need to connect people to the new HSR system from areas like Brandon and the Northwest County area.
Also, a tidbit of information reported to the Board as part of the TDP presentation portends a bit of good news for HART. Farebox recovery, which represents the proportion of revenues that come from fares, has increased over the last few years, going from 19% in 2007 to a projected 22% in 2010. That increase indicates that the system's efficiency is improving.
Next Meeting August 16
The Board will next meet on August 16 at 8:30 a.m. at HART's administrative offices in Ybor City. This meeting will be a wrap of the Alternatives Analysis.
Want more details on the TDP, AA, and Rapid Transit Investment Plans? It's all on HART's website, http://www.gohart.org/. Plus, you can review the informational packet for each Board meeting, AND get a link to watch the regular monthly meetings right from your computer.
There's a whole lot going on at HART - stay tuned and we'll help you keep up!