Who we are
We are the Sunshine Citizens. Born of a fierce desire to correct wrongheaded, short sighted and business-as-usual transportation planning in the Tampa Bay region, we have come together to oppose a disastrous plan being forced on our community by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
FDOT is fast tracking a wide-ranging, catastrophic plan without proper openness, transparency and honest communications to the very people whose tax dollars will fund their TBX project. In defiance of existing plans that stress multi modal transportation options, and without a vote by the citizens affected, the FDOT is proceeding with a plan that adds TOLL LANES to a federal interstate highway.
At a projected cost of $9 billion, the Tampa Bay Express project (TBX) will destroy irreplaceable community assets yet not substantially alleviate congestion. The data is clear and established that widening highways never improves traffic in the medium or long term; in fact, it makes traffic worse. This counter-intuitive fact has been supported by numerous studies and isn’t questioned by professional traffic engineers.
TBX has far reaching effects on quality of life, destroys the historic fabric of the city, and will not alleviate congestion in a meaningful, lasting manner. TBX is based on data last collected in 1996, for an area that has changed dramatically, with population migration back to the city center, positive redevelopment and that is actively engaged in smart growth planning and economic development initiatives.
We are an advocacy group representing thousands of citizens who are fighting for smarter growth and transit solutions within the greater Tampa Bay region. Our group represents a wide range of backgrounds, experience and professions. We are business owners, community leaders, and professionals from a wide range of industries. We are educators, students and retirees. We are friends, neighbors and connected, forward-looking communities.
Sunshine Citizens believes in strong local civic participation and self-determination. We believe that the state of Florida has an obligation as well as a statutory requirement to conduct business that addresses the public interest in the light of day – in the Sunshine.
What we do
We are actively building coalitions of like-minded groups, citizens and local leaders in Tampa Bay who share our vision for better choices, smarter growth and positive economic development for our area.
We do not support the FDOT’s plan, which repeats the same mistakes of the past, again and again, with no desire to see a more effective outcome. We actively advocate against the TBX plan and for both short- and long-range comprehensive transportation plans that feature multi modal transportation options.
Why we do it
The TBX plan is disastrously wrong for Tampa Bay- it needs to be removed from the TIP (Transportation Improvement Program). The TIP is the “short-range” component of Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Long Range Transportation Plan.
We call on and will actively petition our local elected officials, who have the final authority to rule on these decisions, to stop the TBX plan and review and advance alternative, more cost-effective and efficient plans for our transportation needs.
Because we believe that plans made today affect our community, our families, and our way of life far into the future, we want to refocus the conversation on a plan that makes sense economically and brings the greatest VALUE for our transportation dollars.
We want FDOT to listen to the people of our community- not just order us around, from Tallahassee. We need to come back to the Hillsborough County Imagine 2040 long range transportation plan, where taxpayers have already prioritized spending on transportation to include rail, bus and walkability – with more toll lanes dead last.
We want the FDOT to restart an honest conversation about our region’s transportation needs. That conversation needs to include all stakeholders and lead to a plan that includes multiple modes of transit – in an open, transparent manner. In the light of day, as our sunshine laws require.