Will Voters Get To Decide Sales Tax For Transit In Hillsborough?

Hillsborough County commissioners will preside over a public hearing on May 13 to decide whether a 1 percent sales tax for transportation will go on the November ballot. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the All People's Life Center, 6105 East Sligh Ave., in Tampa.

According to Tampa attorney David Singer, the additional sales tax would position Tampa as a desirable place to live and work in an increasingly competitive environment where cities are vying for the best talent.

"If you look at other communities like Charlotte, Phoenix and Denver, you see the type of success that we know the Tampa Bay region will also have in terms of keeping our young people here once they graduate from college; (young people) we don't want to lose to other communities." Singer has been coordinating a campaign for Moving Hillsborough Forward to improve transit throughout Hillsborough County.

Singer says the 1 percent sales tax will be used for rapid transit as well as for road improvements. "Seventy-five percent of every penny will go go to rapid bus service and light rail," says Singer. "Twenty-five percent will go to road improvements. For the first 10 years we will focus on Hillsborough County rather than roads within the Tampa city limits."

According to Singer, Pinellas and Pasco counties are looking to Hillsborough to see how voters feel about the proposed sales tax increase as they plan their own transit improvement budgets. "Their transit will provide connectivity between their communities and Tampa's high-speed rail station."

Singer says Moving Hillsborough Forward is comprised of a cross-section of Tampa residents. "The great part of MHF is that we have Democrats, Republicans, leaders from both business and labor. We have teachers and home builders. It's a wider spectrum of ideologies, professions and ethnicities than any other movement could hope to have."

Proposed road improvements can be found on the Hillsborough County website.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: David Singer, Moving Hillsborough Forward
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