By Michael Maurino, Director of Government Relations, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce TBX rolls ahead: Early Thursday morning, the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization approved the inclusion of the Tampa Bay Express project in their list of priority projects. The MPO voted 12-4 to keep TBX and the associated projects in the MPO’s long range plan, following a nearly eight-hour meeting. Chamber representatives who spoke supported the project going forward, but also encouraged continued conversation between the Florida Department of Transportation, MPO members, and the community. In addition to the MPO’s approval, they approved a motion that would require FDOT to perform several studies to measure the progress of the project. TBX still has to be approved annually by the MPO. Don’t look back, USF might be gaining on you: The University of South Florida was awarded “emerging preeminence” status this week by the Florida Board of Governors’ Strategic Planning Committee. If USF’s status is confirmed by the Board of Governors, it could net an additional $5 million in funding. USF has met all but three of the 12 criteria needed to join the University of Florida and Florida State University at “preeminence” status. USF is also aiming to become a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, where it would join UF as the only Florida schools. Moffitt Moonshot next week: On Wednesday, June 29, 2-4pm, Moffitt Cancer Center will host a Cancer Moonshot Summit in conjunction with Vice President Joe Biden’s summit in Washington happening at the same time. To register, you can visit their Facebook page or email [email protected]. Meet the candidates at Hob Nob! The election season heats up at the 2016 Political Hob Nob on Monday, August 1 at the Tampa Hilton Downtown. Meet and greet the candidates a few weeks ahead of the 2016 primaries, and participate in the highly anticipated straw poll. Purchase your tickets today!