West Florida RPC Hosts 5th Annual Transportation Symposium
Nearly 200 people gathered on the beautiful Emerald Coast in Navarre, Florida to hear from Florida and Alabama state transportation leaders and connect with transportation industry experts at the Fifth Annual Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium. Held February 25-26th, the event featured special presenters Kevin J. Thibault, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation and John Cooper, Director of the Alabama Department of Transportation.
Industry experts facilitated panels on Economic Modeling, Complete Streets, Bicycle/Pedestrian User perspective, Technology and Tourism, Transportation Funding and Environmental Protection. A special final session was dedicated to the regional impacts of Hurricane Michael, focusing on recovery and guidelines for moving forward.
The inaugural, 2019 Emerald Award for outstanding or innovative programs or service was given to Bay Town Trolley by the West Florida RPC at a special evening reception held during the symposium. Despite damage to their buildings, vehicles, and
95% of their 300 fixed route stops, the leadership and staff of Bay Town Trolley responded with continual support at the Emergency Operations Center while devising and implementing a plan to assist citizens in dire need of medical care or evacuation. Though transportation of any kind was nearly impossible to carry out due to the unprecedented damage and debris in the county, the Bay Town Trolley team dispatched their vehicles and staff to transport citizens to hospitals, dialysis centers, and evacuation shelters – and in doing so, provided much needed assistance to the overworked EMS workers, all while delivering supplies to shelters and working to re-establish service to their own routes.
The 2019 Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium was a successful event, noted by those who attended as a unique opportunity to network, learn, and be part of a concerted effort to improve the region.
East Central Florida LEPC Hosts Hazardous Materials Symposium
For the past seven years the East Central Florida Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) has coordinated and hosted the Florida Hazardous Materials Symposium using grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This year the symposium was held in Daytona Beach, January 22 – 25, 2019 and included 57 training sessions, totaling 190 hours of training.
Each year, the attendance at the symposium has grown and this year the total attendance included over 590 participants! Credit for this growth goes to each of the 10 LEPC Coordinators and the LEPC Chairs for supporting the planning process and using their own grant funding to sponsor attendance of first responders.
Of the more than 440 students in attendance, 349 were sponsored by their LEPC using grant funding. Participants traveled from twelve states and Argentina to attend the symposium. In conjunction with the training courses a HazMat Team competition is held each year. This year 12 teams from all over Florida competed with the City of Delray Beach Fire Rescue winning first place.
Tampa Bay RPC Sponsors 17th Annual Netfest
On April 4th the Tampa Bay RPC staff joined Pasco County Economic Development Council’s 17th Annual NetFest event as a sponsor. The event theme was Caribbean Cowboy and provided the Tampa Bay RPC an excellent opportunity to support regional economic development initiatives while interfacing with hundreds of business professionals, elected officials and community leaders throughout Pasco County.
The event which was held at the new Epperson Crystal City Lagoon of Wesley Chapel, also included a sponsors-only chili cook-off. The Crystal Lagoon is the largest man-made lagoon in the country and was completed this year. The Epperson Lagoon is a part of Pasco County’s “Connected City: America’s First Smart Gigabit Community Built from the Ground Up” development that won the Tampa Bay RPC 2018 Future of the Region Awards One Bay / McIntosh Award, which is the top award for overall best project.