Once again, rail is a topic of conversation in the Bay area.
This time railroad giant CSX has jumped into the conversation by indicating it would consider selling track in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties to the state for development as a commuter rail line.
Kris Carson, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation, says the words they use to describe the future needs of transit in Tampa Bay are "premium transit."
"We say 'premium transit' because we don't know what it's going to be," she said. "Could it be light rail? Could it be commuter rail? Could it be other types of technology? Absolutely."
Area planners have many forms of premium transit to choose from. While much of the talk in the Bay area has been around light rail, the list of available options is extensive. It includes automated people movers, bus rapid transit, modern street car transit, self-propelled diesel, commuter rail and heavy rain.
Blane Tarr, who rides PSTA buses, had high hopes that the Greenlight Pinellas Plan, which included a light rail option, would pass.
"I was kind of counting on the light rail to happen, and when it didn't happen, I looked for other alternatives," Tarr said. "I've had to turn down lots of jobs out of this area because this is not just a big industrial area for this type of work I do."
In the initial Greenlight Pinellas Plan, the call for light rail was not well-received by CSX. Light rail doesn't operate on the type of tracks already in place; commuter rail does.
According to Carson, CSX's offer to sell some track to the state is similar to what has already happened in Central Florida.
"You had three counties and a city come together with an agreement," she said. "And we're talking over $432 million to purchase the tracks over there."
That number could be a lot higher in Tampa Bay, considering there are two counties and a number of cities which would need to come together and agree on any future commuter rail plan.