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Tampa Area to Re-establish ‘Clean Cities Coalition’

The ultimate goal is to lessen the community’s impact on the environment by reducing the use of petroleum and creating more sustainable transportation.

In an effort to expand the use of clean transportation throughout the Tampa Bay area, the former Suncoast Clean Cities Coalition is being re-established as the Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition.

The partnership includes the , USFs Patel School of Global Sustainability, the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission and TECO Energy. The effort will be formally launched Tuesday morning at the USF Patel Center for Global Solutions with a signing ceremony and inaugural gathering.

Stephen Reich, director of Transportation Program Evaluation and Economic Analysis at USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, will serve as the coalition’s coordinator.

The ultimate goal of the alliance is to establish petroleum reduction strategies, measure those strategies, and report to the U.S. Department of Energy on an annual basis, Reich said. The coalition is expected to help the Tampa area reduce its impact on the environment and move toward cleaner and more sustainable transportation.

The first step is to put together a viable coalition, which should take about a year.

“It’s a pretty ambitious goal for 12 months,” Reich said.

Once established, the Tampa area’s coalition will be eligible for recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy as a federal Clean Cities Coalition, Reich said. This designation will enable the region to compete for financial support to meet its sustainability goals.

The Suncoast Clean Cities Coalition existed from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, and engaged dozens of member organizations in its programs, according to a press release from USF. But the group fizzled because of scarce resources and lack of federal approval of its plan, leaving the area with no Clean Cities Coalition for several years.

The initial counties that the Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition will encompass are Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Polk and Sarasota, Reich said. The Tampa area is the largest metropolitan area in Florida not represented nationally.

The Florida Gold Coast Clean Cities Coalition represents Broward and Miami-Dade counties and the cities of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach; the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition represents Brevard, Flagger, Indian River, Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, St. Lucie, Volusia counties and the City of Orlando.

Reich has 30 years of experience in the transportation field. He received his bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental planning from Towson State University in Maryland. His areas of expertise include transportation finance and planning, capital programming, financial analysis and toll agency management.

USF’s Patel School of Global Sustainability staff will carry out the outreach and assist with the research efforts of the initiative. The Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission and TECO Energy are kick-starting the effort with financial and in-kind support.

The Tampa coalition will create a forum for businesses and organizations to network and understand where conservation opportunities exist, Reich said.

“We would invite all interested organizations to participate,” he said.

While Tuesday’s event is invitation only, there is still time to get involved. For more information about the Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition or to become part of the effort, email Reich at reich@cutr.usf.edu.

What do you think about this? Does the Tampa Bay area need to lessen its environmental impact? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

H.David Frotscher August 13, 2012 at 07:45 PM
YES indeed. ALL areas should be helping this cause. Our wretched Gov. stopped a possible rail service that would have made a large contribution to this cause. WE need to move away from COAL and OIL products ASAP. They have served us well in the past. WE now know their dangers to everyday life and need to push forward on clean renewable energy for as many uses as possible, and,as soon as possible.
Tim McCarty August 13, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Yes, the Tampa area needs some sort of group to control and help with the enviroment impact. And would be nice to find different, cleaner types of fuel.
Amie Devero August 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Excellent development. Looking forward to learning more and to seeing what kind of involvement can help forward the aims of this enterprise.

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