TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Mayor Jane Castor touted the Tampa’s growth — and the challenges that come with it — in her annual ‘state of the city’ address on Wednesday.
“For decades, Tampa has aspired to be called America’s next great city. Well, I will tell you this: Tampa, we have arrived!” Castor exclaimed.
Castor talked a lot about Tampa’s explosion in growth, and all the annoyances that come with sacrificing now for the future.
“That’s why we’re investing in aging infrastructure like never before,” said Castor. “And yes, that’s why so many of us are putting up with the public construction projects as you travel around Tampa.”
The first-term mayor who is up for re-election next March praised the $3 billion pipes project, saying simply repairing the city’s aging infrastructure would’ve been “fiscally irresponsible.”
“The City currently has 103 active projects which translates into $1.7 billion investment in our infrastructure,” Castor said.
On the affordable housing crunch, Castor said there are 20 people looking for every one available apartment. She said the only way to get out of that crisis is to build more affordable homes, saying that’s why she has opposed moratoriums on building.
“Nothing more is important to me than alleviating this housing crunch right now,” said Castor. “We cannot let those who have called Tampa home for generations be priced out.”
On the city’s transportation woes, Castor was blunt, saying “I won’t sugarcoat it: we have a LOT of work to do.” She then implored voters to approve the transportation tax on the ballot this November that was previously overturned by a judge because the money would have been controlled by All for Transportation, a non-governmental entity.
This year has brought its share of challenges for the city.
In March, city councilman John Dingfelder was forced to resign over a public records lawsuit and ethics complaint.
Weeks later, Orlando Gudes stepped down as chair of city council over a report that he created a “hostile work environment” for a former aide.
Castor called for gudes to step down, but the mayor has no authority to fire an elected official.
Mayor Jane Castor will be a guest on 8 On Your Side’s weekly political show, Battleground Florida, this Sunday at 9:30 a.m.