Residents protest proposed TBX project

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Tampa, Fla (WFLA)  Those opposed to the Florida Department of Transportation’s TBX project took to the streets of the VM Ybor neighborhood Saturday morning.  TBX which stands for Tampa Bay Express lanes would add toll lanes in Pinellas, Polk and Hillsborough County interstates to relieve congestion.  The lanes would be added adjacent to current lanes, essentially widening the interstates.  But the land has to come from somewhere.  That somewhere cuts through some of Tampa’s historic neighborhoods.

Linda Saul-Sena is a former member of Tampa City Council and helped organize Saturday’s march.  Those participating wore yellow ponchos and carried crime scene tape, hoping to symbolize the crime that will take place if this project moves forward.

“The neighbors who live here are either up in arms or they don’t even know what’s being proposed.  It’s very concerning.”  Said Saul-Sena.  “One of the purposes of the march is to make people along the route aware that suddenly their home is going to be lost or the interstate will be moving immediately across the street from them. “

Countless homes, a church and other historic structures would have to be razed to make way for the additional lanes.  Some wonder, is it worth it?  “This is a boondoggle.  It’s a 6-9 plus billion dollar boondoggle that will tie up the roads for 15 years,”  Said Jeff Zampitella.  “It will change the neighborhoods forever, once it’s done, we can’t undo it. “

The group is planning future marches to drum up community support.  The DOT is also holding public forums for comment on the project.  The next forum is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

5:30-7:30 p.m. At the Robert Saunders Library located at 1505 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa.

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