- Business leaders from the three counties making up the Tampa Bay, FL region have teamed up for a nonprofit that will advocate for region-wide transportation solutions. The Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance (TBMO) says it will be a “united front” for mobility projects.
- According to the group’s website, TBMO has three main objectives: being an entry point for area transportation solutions; being a safe place for transportation conversations and educations; and producing and advocating for “tangible results around transportation and mobility.”
- The group’s three chairmen represent the three counties in the region: Roberto Torres, owner of Blind Tiger Cafe, represents Hillsborough County, FL; Andrew Machota, founder of Newtown Connections, represents Pinellas County, FL; and Paso Economic Development Council president Bill Cronin represents Pasco County, FL.
The alliance — which will have public monthly meetings — has been in the works for more than a year, the result of conferences and conversations with other metro areas that showed that many transportation hubs have business alliances behind them. The idea is to have a strong lobbying force that can work with all three county governments, along with state and city partners, to push solutions like new bus routes.
“Our respected government is limited, bound by jurisdictions, maps and taxes and in the future we are going to have to have a lot more collaboration," Cronin told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. He added that the nonprofit will help bring business backing to costly transportation projects.
It also comes as Tampa Bay is increasingly exploring new mobility technology. The city was awarded a federal grant in 2015 to make an expressway an experimental site for connected vehicles. The city also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between with the University of South Florida to partner on “creative” transportation solutions that would go beyond just road-building.
Many smart cities are looking outside their borders to form regional alliances or projects to share information and resources. Colorado, for example, formed a Smart Cities Alliance in 2017 with 12 cities of various sizes; in an interview last year with Smart Cities Dive, co-founder Jake Rishavy said the goal was to “pull together a collaborative, multi-jurisdictional, multi-segment collaboration.” Although the TBMO has a smaller scope, the cross-government alliance should help advance lobbying efforts and forge new government partnerships.