Tampa Traffic Driving Away Business, Sharpe Says

Mark Sharpe
Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe says Tampa's lack of commuting options has already lost at least one business opportunity.
TAMPA (2010-3-8) -

Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, who is among those pushing for commuter rail, says the Bay Area is has lost businesses to other areas because of a lack of good transportation options.

A recent study by "Forbes Magazine" says Tampa is the worst big metro area in the nation for commuters.

“A general contractor in Washington state was looking to relocate to Tampa,” Sharpe told WUSF's "Florida Matters."

“The mayor of Charlotte got to them, sat down with them, and said, ‘Before you consider Tampa, I want you to take a look at the transportation program and package we’ve got and how you’re employees will have options for getting to work.’

“That one company made the decision to not come to Tampa and instead went to Charlotte. We see it all the time,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe declined to name the company that chose Charlotte, a similar-sized city that has invested in a light rail system.

Commissioners are still considering a referendum that would add a penny sales tax for a light rail system and highway improvements.

We'll take a closer look -- on Florida Matters -- Tuesday evening at 6:30.

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