Veiled threats follow vote to nix bus between downtown and St. Pete Beach

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The cities of St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach are fighting over a bus route between downtown and the Gulf Coast. 

During an emergency council meeting Thursday morning, St. Pete Beach City Council members dug their heals into the sand to block the proposed rapid transit bus line that would run from Central Avenue to St. Pete Beach, with a 30-minute travel time.

“I do want mass transit,” St. Pete Beach Mayor Alan Johnson told FOX 13. “I want to make sure it’s right for what we have.”

St. Pete Beach City Council voted to restrict the size of buses and would make them turn around before arriving on Gulf Boulevard, which St. Petersburg officials say would defeat the purpose of the bus line.

St. Petersburg’s mayor, Rick Kriseman got wind of the beach city's vote and sent a heavy-handed letter saying he would push for a plan B, where the rapid bus would turn around at the Don Caesar Hotel which is what Councilwoman Melinda Pletcher described as a “mafia move.”

“St. Pete Beach needs to be a partner with everyone else,” Kriseman said. “These are state roads. If it does go forward, some of the compromises they could have received may go away.”

Both mayors say they are willing to continue to have conversations, however, Mayor Kriseman says he’ll soon push for the PSTA to make moves without the beach city’s input.