Speedy bus considered as mass-transit option

TBARTA, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, has rolled out a first look at what could be part of a solution to the area's lack of  mass transit  It's called BRT, which stands for Bus Rapid Transit. 

It's essentially a large, fast bus that would run along the interstate. 

Under the plan, it would follow a 41-mile route from downtown St. Petersburg to Wesley Chapel. It would cross a new, expanded Howard Frankland Bridge and make limited stops at stations in Westshore, downtown Tampa, and USF. 

"A vehicle, once it pulls up to a station, may be there for only 15 seconds," said David Green, TBARTA's executive director. 

Green came to this area nine months ago after helping build a BRT system in Richmond, Virginia. 

"We have a ton of catching up to do," continued Green. "But it allows us to take into consideration future technologies that are being developed." 

Planners say BRT would be just part of a mass transportation plan that could also include ferries and rail. The project doesn't have a price tag yet, but Green says it would require federal, state, and local dollars. 

Green says local leaders and citizens will get a chance to provide input in the weeks and months to come.