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Tampa takes next step toward improving transit between USF and downtown

The grant approval is less than the $4 million the city requested. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/UNSPLASH

USF students are one step closer to accessible transportation to downtown Tampa.

The city of Tampa received a $1.75 million grant from the federal government on Tuesday to open a new accelerator office dedicated to improving public transit, according to a press release.

Those in the office include city mobility director Vik Bhide, chief budget officer Mike Perry and sustainability and resilience officer Whit Remer.

One of the goals for these funds is to build rapid transit between USF and downtown Tampa, according to the city’s grant application obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

The project would look similar to the SunRunner in St. Pete, which provides bus transit for citizens.

The city requested $45 million for that project but is still waiting on approval. The project is estimated to cost around $50 million and take two years to complete.

Tuesday’s grant approval, which was administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau, is less than the initial $4 million the city requested, according to the application.

The office will also focus on expanding walking and biking routes in downtown Tampa. Other goals it hopes to achieve include:

  • Offering transportation between Tampa International Airport and downtown Tampa
  • Modernizing and expanding the routes of the yellow streetcars in Ybor and downtown Tampa
  • Preparing Brightline rail routes to link to Tampa
  • Upgrading the CSX South Tampa corridor
  • Improving safety standards for cyclists