For much of Pinellas County, railroad tracks serve as a vital means of moving goods through the region as well as a reminder of a bygone era, one when trains were a primary means of moving people as well.
Constant gridlock and carbon emissions from St. Pete to Tarpon Springs have compelled local officials to re-think the way that Pinellas moves its people around.
The county is in the middle of a study that aims to discover the best transit alternatives for county residents and visitors.
Namely, they're considering whether passenger rail is a viable option for the county and where rail lines would go. They're also looking at bus system modifications.
A town hall to discuss these options with the public is Wednesday.
Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority chair Bob Clifford, St. Petersburg City Council member Jeff Danner, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, and Pinellas Metropolitan Planning Organization interim executive diorector Sarah Ward make up a panel that will field questions from the public. Residents can participate in this interactive meeting through a blog on the county's Website or by telephone.
The public can submit questions via the pinellascounty.org/etownhall starting Tuesday, (Jan. 17) at 9 a.m., or through Twitter by including #pinellastransit in the message.
The county will randomly dial 40,000 Pinellas residents and ask them to participate in the meeting. Those who do not receive a call can phone in by dialing (888) 886-6603, conference code 17686#.
The event will also be broadcast live on PCC-TV (Brighthouse channel 633, Knology channel 18, and Verizon channel 44).
This is the fourth meeting of its kind regarding transit in Pinellas.
Transportation officials in neighboring Hillsborough County voted to end their transit alternatives study last year due to that county's residents' rejection of a ballot initiative that would have raised the sales tax to fund a massive transit overhaul.