1. Transportation that works. Our mass transit strategy — how shall I say this politely? — stinks. Hillsborough County's plan bombed a few years ago in a voter referendum, then Pinellas County tried its own version in 2014 with equally disastrous results. Now we seem to be passing this ill-planned dud back to Hillsborough, setting that county up to go 0 for 2.
Anybody who says this area can simply keep relying on more roads clearly does not drive enough around here at peak traffic times. Even if we do build more roads, the clear trend is toward more tolls. Either way, toll roads or mass transit, transportation is going to become more expensive.
But will it become more efficient? Could Tampa Bay actually deliver a regional solution to a regional transportation problem? So far, it's proved a sadly laughable process. Grade: D
2. A viable next home for the Tampa Bay Rays. The small-town pettiness that's infected the debate over the whereabouts of a future baseball stadium should make you wonder if we still really want a Major League Baseball franchise here. St. Petersburg's lasting tunnel vision still limits the Rays from looking broadly across the region for a potential site that might draw more than last-place attendance numbers. Tampa and Hillsborough sound macho enough when insisting they have the sports mojo and real estate the Rays seek. Then they cry pauper when talk turns to a modern-day stadium with a price tag of three quarters of a billion dollars or more by the time the Rays clear the legal quagmire of their Tropicana Field contract. Grade: C
10. Regional cooperation. The idea of "regionalism" often prompts a backlash from local communities who see threats to their self control. Yet more than half the projects on this list could be improved upon, if not solved, with greater regional cooperation of political will, economic ambition and, yes, money. The key is to understand when working at the regional level can really help (see Nos. 1, 2, 6, 7 and 9) and when it's not necessary. Tampa Bay claims it's becoming more regionally conscious. I see modest progress on the best of days and major backpedaling on the worst of days. But good grief — keep trying. Grade: C-