Feb 4, 2021 - Economy & Business

Tampa economic leader says transit, infrastructure improvements could drive growth

Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery (L) and Tampa Bay Economic Development Council CEO Craig Richard (R). Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery (L) and Tampa Bay Economic Development Council CEO Craig Richard (R). Photo: Axios

Improving transportation and infrastructure in Tampa could drive significant economic growth, Tampa Bay Economic Development Council CEO Craig Richard said on Thursday at an Axios virtual event.

The big picture: Tampa has buses for public transportation and has improved its biking and pedestrian access in recent years. But the city does not have a rail system outside of the TECO line streetcar, which is not high-speed and has limited reach. Some infrastructure throughout Hillsborough County is also in need of repair.

  • "Transportation and infrastructure is really the seed that creates economic growth. Any time you look at development over the centuries, whether it's been access to ports or access to railroads or access to freeways, you have to have access to these types of... infrastructure systems to support economic growth and development."

Richard further argued that Tampa's current public transit system could hinder the city's competitiveness in recruiting new residents or businesses.

  • Transportation "plays a role in terms of people's access to employment opportunities, and when you're looking at a community and the health of a community, you want to make sure that everybody has access to those economic opportunities, whether it's jobs or education. And your transportation helps fill that role," he said.
  • "It is unfortunate that our mass transportation doesn't stack up very well to some of our other competitor cities."

Watch the event.

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