Brian Adcock, Chris Yanes & Mattie Velasco: Tampa Bay transportation challenges hinder talent recruitment, economic growth
Car, taxi, and bus traffic on road intersection at night in Hong Kong downtown district, drone aerial top view. Street commuter, Asia city life, or public transportation concept

Car, taxi, and bus traffic on road intersection at night in Hong Kong downtown district, drone aerial top view. Street commuter, Asia city life, or public transportation concept
Transportation challenges impact the effort to recruit new talent.

It is well documented that the Tampa Bay region is experiencing significant change and growth since 2020. During the worldwide pandemic, thousands of people left other states and flocked to the Tampa Bay region for new opportunities, and it’s a trend that shows no signs of stopping.

Unfortunately, our transportation challenges threaten to unravel the positive momentum the region is experiencing.

We’ve heard Tampa Bay residents complain for years now that transportation needs to be improved and the growth has exacerbated that. Commuting times often peak at more than an hour. Potholes litter roads. Damaged sidewalks pose risks for cyclists and walkers.

In fact, we’ve heard from the Tampa Bay business community that the region’s transportation woes have made attracting and retaining talent much more difficult as individuals decide whether or not to contend with daily traffic problems.

In an attempt to address the problem, Hillsborough County residents in 2018 approved a 1% sales tax referendum for transportation projects. The referendum was challenged on a legal technicality and the courts struck it down in 2021. While the 1% sales tax was in place, the county was able to collect $570 million in funding that has since sat in an escrow account, untouched.

This money is now at the mercy of the Florida Legislature for it to be returned to Hillsborough County. With a backlog of more than $13 billion in transportation projects, it is critical this funding be returned to the county to start work on these them.

To that end, for the last four years, the Tampa Bay Chamber has rallied the business community to this cause and has been advocating for the return of this money. This year, we have stepped up our efforts in communicating with our elected officials the importance of this funding. More than 220 people at our annual meeting alone signed letters to legislative leadership.

With thousands of people traversing through Hillsborough County each day from all over the region, the county’s transportation challenges are a challenge for the entire Tampa Bay region.

We are extremely close to getting this across the finish line, but the Tampa Bay region needs to unite in calling for the return of this money. Don’t assume elected officials have enough letters from the community — yours may be the one that makes the difference. Contact your elected officials today, urging the importance of returning $570 million of our community’s transportation dollars.

Our letter-writing campaign makes it easy. Learn more at


Brian Adcock is president and CEO of Adcock Financial and Chair of the Tampa Bay Chamber. Chris Yanes and Mattie Velasco are the Tampa Bay Chamber’s Transportation Council Co-Chairs.

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One comment

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