Despite lawsuit, public voices support for Hillsborough transportation tax

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority

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transit refererendum

All for Transportation 2018 transit sales tax referendum in Hillsborough. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (9 Aug. 2018).

Last month Hillsborough County voters overwhelmingly approved a change to the county’s charter that would collect a 1% sales tax surcharge on all purchases in order to fund a range of transportation needs. A discussion about the tax during a Commission meeting Wednesday came even as one Commissioner, Republican Stacy White, is suing to stop the tax from taking effect.

“Look, everyone knows that I’ve filed this suit. The main tenet of my suit is I feel conflicted with respect to carrying out my duties as a county commissioner with regards to whether or not I abide by Chapter 212, Florida Statutes or this new constitutional [charter] amendment.

“I’ve pledged publicly in interviews with the media to faithfully play my role in implementing this should a judge not agree with my stance. But given that litigation’s still pending I do not have the opportunity to abstain on these votes. I think Florida Statutes are fairly clear in circumstances that would allow a commissioner to abstain. …

“So with all that being said, because this is still pending, I don’t have closure with respect to my complaint and the fact that I feel conflicted between this new local law and general law, I’m just going to vote ‘no’ on all the matters today.

“But, again, should this be — should a judge or the judicial branch of government not see it my way and I receive closure then at such time I’ll move forward as promised to faithfully implement the provisions of the charter.”

Listen:

 

During public comment, ten people voiced their support for the tax and one Pinellas County resident opposed it.

Listen to one supporter, Kevin Thurman:

 

Time ran out on morning public comment before everyone who signed up to speak was given the chance. The discussion continued in the afternoon.

Also at the meeting six members of the public voiced their opposition to a Rays baseball stadium in Ybor City. One person supported the idea.

And five people voiced their support for the commission to once again consider a commuter ferry between Eastern Hillsborough County and MacDill Air Force Base.

In addition, the Commission heard from a company that wants to introduce the latest hipster transportation rage — a program to distribute electric scooters, which residents will be able to rent through an app. It’s similar to a bike-share, except the scooters wouldn’t need to be returned to a dock.