Getting around Tampa Bay has never been easy, but for those without their own means of transportation, it is one of the worst commutes in the nation.
Our news partners at the Tampa Bay Times published its report Friday on the failures of local governments to shore up the public transit system to make it equal with similarly-sized metro areas.
In the report, the Times found that the region ranks 29th "in four of six common ways the federal government measures public transit coverage and usage." The region "ranks dead last" in the other two modes of transportation.
The comprehensive investigation included data analysis, interviews with officials and deep diving into 30 years of mass transit planning in the region. What the newspaper found confirms the struggles that citizens, many of whom are economically-disadvantaged, confront on a daily basis in managing their commutes to and from work.
The Times reported that local governments have not spent enough on mass transit to keep up with the region's burgeoning population.
The report cited that the region's $141 million operating budget is around what cities like Bridgeport, Conn. and Buffalo, N.Y. spend on their mass transit systems though those cities have about 1.5 million fewer residents.
When Hillsborough and Pinellas county attempted to address these transportation woes, " almost every" plan was not enacted creating stagnation when compared to other metro areas, the Times said.
To read the entire report and to see a transit density map showing how the region stacks up to other metro areas: Click Here.