In the November general election, Hillsborough County voters will have a chance to increase the county sales tax by a penny in order to fund transportation improvements; at a press conference in East Tampa Thursday morning, the chair of the All for Transportation group, Tyler Hudson, said the tax hike is needed to fund the county’s ten billion dollar transportation backlog.
“On June 15th, this campaign started talking to Hillsborough County citizens and asked them a simple question: ‘Do you want to fix transportation now; have you had enough?’ And in just about six weeks, over 76,000 people said, ‘yes,’ they wanted to fix transportation now and they wanted to vote in November. Yesterday, the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections confirmed that we will be on the November ballot. That in and of itself, I think, is a historic achievement. But more importantly, it provides the people of Hillsborough County a historic opportunity to begin the long-overdue work of funding a transportation that saves people’s time, people’s money and people’s lives. Whether you live in Carrollwood or Sun City Center or right here in East Tampa, there is something in the All for Transportation plan for you. Whether it’s filling potholes and fixing roads, whether it’s improving intersections, whether it’s increasing public transit options, we got 76,000 petitions from people in all corners of the county because people in all corners of the county want to see transportation fixed and they want to see it fixed now.”
Previous transportation referendums have failed, in part because voters weren’t sure what they’d be getting in return for increased taxes. But the organizers offered few details when pressed for specific projects.
East Hillsborough resident Gwen Myers says in addition to better bus service, she hopes voters increase transportation funding to make roads safer.
“The cost in lives are also important, because transportation, like this road right here behind me – Hillsborough Avenue. Deadly [accidents] happen often here. The problem’s going to get worse. There are so many people that move into Hillsborough County daily. But we have to have transportation for all. Transportation means improving our county bus system. That we can expand and redesign the transit where people can get to work more easily, the commute is friendlier. Not waiting longer hours, but to serve all those who’d have a desire to ride the bus.”