On Wednesday, St. Petersburg House Republican Jeff Brandes filed an amendment that mandates a merger between the transit agencies of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
That's despite the repeated statements by HART officials over the past half-year that they want no part of such a proposal.
The discussion to have a merger began last year, pushed by Pinellas County state Senator Jack Latvala. The senator appeared before the HART board last September to advocate for the merger, though he said he was just bringing the issue up for discussion, and said it would have to ultimately be decided by the agencies themselves.
But the Brandes amendment calls for the Legislature, not HART or PSTA, to make that call.
"At this time, there is no compelling reason to force the issue of merging or consolidating the two transit agencies." said HART Chair Fran Davin in a statement. "HART has expressed willingness to study the issue and explore additional advantages to be gained by increased collaboration between the two agencies, as well as other transit agencies of neighboring counties."