A diverse group of local leaders from across Tampa Bay today announced the launch of the Tampa Bay Ferries Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to embracing the region’s historic waterways and delivering on the decades-long vision of permanently connecting our communities via safe, cost-effective, accessible, and congestion-proof year-round ferry service.
The newly launched coalition additionally announced that Tanya Doran, a lifelong South Hillsborough County resident and the former CEO and President of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, will serve as the Alliance’s founding President and CEO.
“I am thrilled and truly blessed to lead the Tampa Bay Ferries Alliance alongside our incredible Board of Directors”, said CEO Tanya Doran. “As a dedicated community advocate, I strongly believe that by working together, we can find solutions to our greatest challenges and ensure our local officials act on them quickly. As the South Hillsborough County population continues to grow, adding a sustainable, year round ferry service to connect all of Tampa Bay, utilizing our untapped waterways is good sense.”
Under Doran’s leadership, the Alliance also announced an impressive and community-wide founding Board of Directors composed of representatives from the business, environment, military, and community sectors. Together, the founding Board of Directors is committed to making permanent, sustainably designed and delivered ferry service a reality for the area’s millions of residents, visitors, and military personnel. Members of the initial Board include:
● Michael Ball, Board Chairman - active in several community advocacy organizations, experienced Financial Advisor with Edward Jones, and a retired Naval Officer
● Bryce Bowden - dedicated leader serving in numerous community organizations, a member of the Hillsborough County Planning Commission, and a commercial realtor with Turner Cole Company since 2013
● Joe Eletto, Board Secretary - engaged in multiple veteran and military focused support organizations, and a residential realtor with Century 21 Beggins for over 17 years
● Fred Fallman, Board Vice Chairman - retired MacDill Air Force Deputy Director for Mission Support, with an impressive United States Air Force career spanning over 40 years
● Kelly Flannery - South Tampa Chamber President & CEO and Tampa native actively involved in the community
● Chris Steinocher - St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce President & CEO since 2011
● Nancy Stevens - committed community volunteer, environmental advocate and Tampa Bay Sierra Club Conservation Chair
Each founding Board Member is a committed, passionate community leader generously volunteering their valuable time and dedicated to working together with residents, local organizations, ferry supporters, elected officials and government agencies to bring a comprehensive and sustainable ferry system to the Tampa Bay region.
“Ferries offer an opportunity to inexpensively improve our local quality of life, remove millions of vehicle miles from our roadways, and embrace our incredible waterfront yet Tampa Bay remains the nation’s largest waterfront region without a ferry system,” said Board Chairman Michael Ball.
“With fewer cars on the road, thanks to ferry service, traffic congestion is reduced for everyone, and the resultant air pollution is reduced across our region”, said Nancy Stevens, Tampa Bay Sierra Club Conservation Chair. “Automobile emissions of greenhouse gasses that warm our planet and nitrogen oxides that pollute Tampa Bay and kill sea grasses will be reduced. Adding a commuter ferry offers workers an option to eliminate the need for a car if they travel by bike, bus, shuttle, or van to the ferry terminal. They can let someone else drive them to work and they can sit back and enjoy our beautiful Tampa Bay every workday.”
“Our community has so much to offer, but traveling efficiently on our roadways is not one of them and adding new highway lanes isn’t the answer,” said Fred Fallman, Board Vice Chairman. “We need to lead by example and use our waterways as the readily available and flexible resource they are, beginning with a MacDill-to-South County foundation built on the strong level of support among MacDill military and civilian personnel.”
“As we work together as community leaders to enhance the lives of our residents and continue to attract new employers to our region, safe, quality transportation services will be a priority for years to come,” said Kelly Flannery, President and CEO of the South Tampa Chamber. “For an area surrounded by water, it only makes sense to find ways to use this resource to our advantage and the ferry service is just the start of finding new and innovative ways to move people around, create local jobs, and drive our local economy.”
Board Secretary Joe Eletto is a Vietnam Era Veteran and Chairman of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee. Joe shares, "As an Apollo Beach resident for more than two decades, I've seen the surrounding community expand beyond expectations, driving many military families from MacDill to reside in South County and face daily hours long commutes. As a military and veteran advocate, a ferry is a win-win for us all and the only transportation option that will improve these heroes' quality of life by giving them back well over an hour with their family each day."
“Our population will continue to grow each year and we must work together, and now, to make sure we can accommodate and provide adequate transportation options.” said Board Member Bryce Bowden. “The South Hillsborough Ferry Terminal will have a positive economic impact in South Hillsborough County, enhancing the quality of life. You can see examples of this type of sustainable and successful service around the globe.”
“We are excited to work with our partners around the bay to build upon the initial success of ferry service,” said Chris Steinocher, President and CEO of the St Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “We see a future where St Pete’s waterfront becomes a viable commuter access option for a regional workforce demanding housing and employment options.”
“Building on early success and launching a South Shore to MacDill Air Force Base ferry will be a game changer for local residents, military members, and their families, and it’s just the beginning,” said Board Chairman Michael Ball.
The Tampa Bay Ferries Alliance’s initial goals are to secure expedited development of permanent ferry service in the Tampa Bay region, including a commuter connection between South Hillsborough County and MacDill Air Force Base alongside service between St. Petersburg, Tampa, and South Hillsborough County. Under the leadership of its founding board, the Alliance will play a pivotal role in expanding the reach and impact of ferry service beyond this initial project.
“Today’s announcement is just the beginning. While we’re focused on first making the longstanding dreams of a permanent, year-round ferry and a commuter service to MacDill a reality, the fact is we have a tremendous, untapped resource right at our shorelines,” said Doran. “With community buy-in and committed local leadership, we can sustainably bring accessible and reliable ferry service to communities across the entire region. The future is bright on Tampa’s waterways.”
Organizations and individuals seeking to join, support, and learn more about the Tampa Bay Ferries Alliance can do so by registering at www.TampaBayFerriesAlliance.org.