Tampal endorses Legislative funding proposal for TBARTA

04/10/08 Mitch E. Perry
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The Tampa City Council today passed a motion supporting a compromise bill in the Florida Legislature that would divert funding from the state’s transportation department into three regional transit authorities in the state, including TBARTA, the agency for the Tampa Bay Area.

Darrell Smith, Mayor Pam Iorio’s chief of staff, spoke about a bill in the Florida House sponsored by Bradenton Republican Bill Galvano. Smith said the rental tax surcharge would apply to each of the counties within the transportation authorities: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Manatee and Sarasota.

The projected revenue would be $19 million and the source could be used for matching federal government support. But Smith said there are some concerns from a couple of quarters – including the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

At TBARTA’s most recent meeting, that board requested that their FDOT member meet with the Transportation Secretary in Tallahassee and Galvano, to reach a compromise. Only representatives from Manatee and Sarasota voted against that plan. Currently there is no such legislation ongoing in the Florida House.

Immediately after Smith’s presentation, Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena enthusiastically proposed a motion to support the compromise proposed by TBARTA.

But newly christened Council Chairman Thomas Scott questioned Darrell Smith if any other local governments inside of TBARTA’s sphere had done so already.

Smith said the city hadn’t broken down how much money Tampa could potentially lose from the Transportation Department if these funds are re-allocated into TBARTA, as well as regional transit authorities in South Florida and Central Florida.

Councilwoman Mary Mulhern said she’s concerned that there is a disprepancy about the aims of the FDOT and TBARTA.

Saul-Sena wasn’t deterred by the lack of any other municipality weighing in on the issue. She said Tampa needed to show leadership for the promise that TBARTA holds.

The Council was to vote at their meeting tonight on a resolution to show their support for the compromise proposal.

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