TAMPA — It happened so quickly and quietly that Charlie Miranda, who doesn’t miss much on the dais, didn’t realize he and his colleagues had unanimously approved $150,000 to bring back an increasingly popular winter and spring ferry service between the bay area’s two largest cities.
The money was approved as part of a consent agenda where batches of non-controversial items are passed together without debate.
That’s a little different from previous years. Former Mayor Bob Buckhorn was ambivalent about the ferry and Miranda was another skeptic. But Tampa City Council members always approved the cash. Thursday’s vote marked the third time that Tampa agreed to pay for the ferry, which will dock at the city’s convention center near where the Hillsborough River meets Tampa Bay.
Tampa’s approval was the final vote needed for the ferry, championed by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. The Hillsborough County Commission approved its equal share of money this week. St. Pete and Pinellas County already signed off.
Here is our transportation reporter Caitlin Johnston’s story.