Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says transit merger is not TBARTA's problem

02/22/13 Janelle Irwin
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Even though the idea of a cross-bay merger is off the table for now, the boards of the transit agencies in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties still say they want to work on some projects together. After a state mandated merger study, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority had requested the state fund a second study taking a deeper look into possible cost savings. HART filed a separate report requesting no further studies. During a Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority meeting, officials said they were encouraged that HART later invited transit leaders from other areas to one of their events. But Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn scolded the regional group for meddling.

“I just don’t think you need other folks getting into that debate. I mean, there’s not a role for it, it’s not needed, it’s not necessary, it’s not wanted. We can find our way through that process, but we don’t need other agencies who are looking for things to do to get in the middle of it.”

Buckhorn referred to possible legislation that he said would require metropolitan planning organizations to pay TBARTA. Right now, is up to the agencies to decide. Buckhorn did not say whether that would affect the Hillsborough and Pinellas Transit agencies.

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