Port of Tampa and others begin marketing connector

April 30, 2013

    Mark Holan | Tampa Bay Business Journal   The Interstate 4/Lee Roy Selmon Expressway Connector is "a game changer" that Port of Tampa CEO Paul Anderson and other economic development officials are now marketing to the world. "This will save time and money," Anderson said. "It may make the difference between us getting business or not."   Anderson is working with Tampa Bay Partnership CEO Stuart Rogel and Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. CEO Rick Homans to bring more cargo trade to the region. They joined Anderson and Florida Department of Transportation District 7 Secretary Paul Steinman on a tour of the connector project Monday afternoon.   Only about 40 percent of the goods consumed in Florida arrive here through the state's 15 ports, Anderson said. About half the 60 percent from outside the state comes here via Savannah. "The central Florida market is the real prize," Anderson said.   The connector is being marketed along with the Gateway rail connection that opened at the port last fall. But Tampa isn't the only port making major infrastructure improvements. Port Everglades and Miami, among others, are also building road and rail connections.   "This will at least keep us on equal footing with some of our competitors, and at best gives us a significant advantage," Anderson said.   Up to 9,000 trucks per day rumble in and out of the port. Not all of them will use the connector, but the new road is expected to remove most of the heavy traffic from the Ybor City Historic District. A PCL/Archer Western joint venture began building the $400 million project in March 2010. The mile-long connector is expected to open to traffic by the end of the year.