All For Transportation is MIA on I-275 Expansion

By Sharon Calvert, from Eye on Tampa Bay

All For Transportation (AFT) were the media darlings of transportation last year.

Local media gave AFT spokespersons gobs of free exposure to shout out the message that we must spend more money on transportation in Hillsborough County.

AFT spent $4 million telling Hillsborough County voters that traffic congestion in the county was in dire straits. Their massive campaign emphasized “road improvements” to relieve congestion to get you home for dinner quicker.

So where in the world is All for Transportation (AFT) on FDOT’s I-275 planned interstate expansion and safety improvement projects?

Does AFT support FDOT’s plans to add much needed capacity and safety improvements to I-275 in Hillsborough County?

We bet lots of Lightning fans use I-275 to get to Lightning games. Does AFT’s largest donor Jeff Vinik support the I-275 expansion projects?

Why is AFT MIA on these interstate expansion projects so critical to Hillsborough County and the entire Tampa Bay region?

Why do we only hear “crickets” from AFT about these projects?

Especially when AFT’s public narrative in their $4 million marketing campaign last year was that improving roads is the highest priority in Hillsborough County.

AFT told us our roads are jammed and the time to act is NOW.

Road improvements were reflected as the highest priority in AFT’s ballot summary language.

All for Transportation tax hike
ballot summary language

Now FDOT plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of state/federal gas taxes we already pay, not new taxes, to improve our interstates and malfunction junction in Hillsborough County. The expansion plans north of downtown are being done within the property footprint FDOT owns.

All for Transportation representatives were no shows at an important Hillsborough MPO meeting Tuesday when the MPO Board decided to keep the I-275 expansion projects in its five-year Transportation Improvement Plan.

AFT spokespersons – Tyler Hudson, Brian Willis, Kevin Thurman, Christina Barker – who were so vocal last year about road improvements and spending more money on transportation, failed to appear at this important meeting.

The Sunshine Citizens activists who want to tear down I-275, oppose the I-275 expansion, new roads and road widening stacked the MPO meeting.

But Sunshine Citizens, who are transit ideologues, no longer have the moral high ground they once thought they claimed. They are now seen as uncompromising and irrational.

And right now AFT’s own narrative of the dire need to spend more money on improving roads in Hillsborough County is being tested.  Chicken-hearted AFT failed to stand up for its own narrative.

Does AFT sympathize with the over 250,000 people who “jam” I-275 every day and support the vast majority who want added capacity on I-275?

AFT spent $4 million last year lecturing voters to spend more money on transportation saying road improvements were the highest priority.

AFT’s current silence on FDOT’s planned I-275 expansion projects is deafening.

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