Hillsborough County voters rejected a one-percent sales tax increase to fund improved transportation throughout the county, including the construction of a light-rail system.
But supporters of the initiative are not giving up.
"We're taking stock of what occurred, what the voters told us, the lessons we've learned and what we can do differently," says Stuart Rogel, president and CEO of Tampa Bay Partnership
. "We are looking at a variety of opportunities in front of us. The need for and importance of transportation to our future is still very, very important. Forty-two percent of the electorate voted for the one-cent tax to fund transit improvements and thought it was important enough to our future."
Rogel says he feels collaboration has strengthened the push toward transit improvement funding and has helped to educate county residents and business owners about their options regarding transportation.
"We've established relationships among people who have never worked together before," says Rogel. "People who had never thought about what transit meant to our future are now thinking about it. Pinellas and Pasco counties are now looking at this issue. The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority
(TBARTA) now has a master plan in place. We're starting to tie people together collaboratively."
And Rogel emphasizes that a high-speed rail route is looming on the horizon. "I just spent time with people from all over the world meeting about the Florida high-speed rail project," he says. "We can't lose sight of that and what it means to our community."
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Stuart Rogel, Tampa Bay Partnership