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Press Release

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority Wins 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Selmon West Extension Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, July 22, 2019

CONTACT: Bill Cramer, Communications Director

bcramer@ibtta.org or 202-210-2962 (mobile)

 


 

THEA Selected for Customer Service and Marketing Outreach Award for Creative Solution Minimizing Disruptions to Businesses and Residents Along Gandy Blvd.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) today announced Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority has been awarded the 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Customer Service and Marketing Outreach for community engagement and creative solutions helping to mitigate adverse impacts during construction of the Selmon Extension project on businesses and residents along the Gandy corridor.

 

The 2019 Toll Excellence Awards will formally be presented during IBTTA's 87th Annual Meeting and Exhibition, September 15-17, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. One recipient will be honored with the prestigious President’s Award for Excellence during the awards ceremony.

 

“Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority’s work on the Selmon West Extension Project has led to greater engagement of the community in order to find creative solutions to help reduce congestion on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa while supporting businesses and residents,” said Patrick Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA. “Each award winner has taken on a tough transportation challenge and worked with partners to find a practical solution. We’re incredibly proud of the work they’ve done to represent our industry. On behalf of the transportation community, we congratulate the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on this well-deserved recognition.”

 

Joe Waggoner, CEO and Executive Director, Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, said in response to the award selection, “THEA is honored to receive this award. The indispensable partnership with our community is a major pillar of our work. We recognize that for any construction project to be successful, we must have open and constant dialogue with those that it affects. We accept this award on behalf of the entire Tampa Bay community who have been so integral to this effort.”

 

“Thank you to IBTTA for awarding THEA with the Excellence Award for Customer Service and Marketing Outreach,” said Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority Board Chairman Vincent J. Cassidy. “THEA is invested in the betterment of our community, and the innovative outreach effort by the team at THEA exemplifies our commitment to the health and growth of our region.”
 

The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve tolling. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in 23 countries on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st Century.

 

Each year, IBTTA presents the Toll Excellence Awards to highlight the very best projects, innovations and solutions from the international tolling industry. The awards encourage the industry to share and celebrate new ideas and emerging practices in six categories: Administration and Finance; Customer Service and Marketing Outreach; Social Responsibility; Technology; Toll Operations, Engineering and Maintenance; and Private Sector Innovation. You can view the full list of 2019 winners by visiting this link.

 

For more information about the awards, please contact Bill Cramer, Communications Director, IBTTA, bcramer@ibtta.org; 202.210.2962.

 

 

Background on the 2019 Toll Excellence Award for Customer Service & Marketing Outreach

 

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority’s Communication Planning, Outreach and Execution of the Selmon West Extension Project:

On three separate occasions over the last twenty-five years, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) tried to find a solution to reduce congestion on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa, Florida. The suggested alternatives removed vast amounts of homes and/or businesses (resulting in eminent domain action) along the corridor, and therefore, were met with fierce community opposition. As a consequence of the public outrage, FDOT did not pursue those projects.

 

In 2009, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) was asked to look at the problem and propose a solution. With the idea that taking homes or businesses was not an option, THEA worked with engineers to find a solution that would minimize disruptions to the businesses and the residents north and south of Gandy Boulevard. THEA's engineers came up with a different type of solution - an elevated toll lane located in the median of Gandy Boulevard. This elevated lane was perfect for the narrow roadway and would take no businesses or homes.

 

THEA still faced heavy opposition and objections from some local neighborhood association leaders and the Gandy corridor business community, who feared, in the height of the "Great Recession," construction would permanently damage or close their businesses. Listening and respecting the fears of the business community stopped THEA's proposed project from moving forward.

 

However, beginning in 2014, the Tampa Bay region saw exponential growth in population, which resulted in heavier congestion, an even more insufficient hurricane evacuation route from the Gandy Bridge onto Gandy Boulevard, and the region's population was predicted to double by 2040.

 

THEA knew that it could help. The elevated road would offer greater regional connectivity for commuters and provide a more efficient and safer dedicated hurricane evacuation route for local and regional families; so, THEA made the decision to restart the project, however, this time, they changed their approach, and put community involvement and outreach at the forefront which included creating a marketing campaign that focused on promoting business affected by construction of the Selmon West Extension, hosting events to draw more customers to the Gandy Boulevard corridor, executing a strategic social media initiative to engage possible customers, and cultivating earned media opportunities for local businesses on local television networks.
 

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About THEA

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is a user-financed public agency led by a board of local citizens. Operating with no tax dollars, THEA develops and owns toll highways, including Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. THEA also owns and maintains non-tolled roads, including Brandon Parkway and Meridian Avenue, and the Selmon Greenway, a bicycle and pedestrian path through downtown Tampa. All tolls collected by THEA are reinvested into projects in Hillsborough County. For more information, visit www.tampa-xway.com.

 

About IBTTA

The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve tolling. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in 23 countries on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st Century. For more information, please visit www.ibtta.org or join us on Twitter @IBTTA or #TollRoads.