Two weeks ago, at the second leadership group transportation meeting, a coterie of business types in the county spoke almost in unison about their desire for light rail to be seriously considered moving forward. But addressing that subject alarmed some Hillsborough activists who fought against the measure in 2010.
"If you look at several of the members that were chosen as CEO's (for the meeting), they had been participants in the political action committee Moving Hillsborough Forward — and many of their companies had been major donors," said Karen Jaroch on Monday, naming the PAC created to get the rail issue passed.
There were six business leaders at the last transportation meeting, all of whom said a modern, efficient transit system was crucial if the area was going to break through economically to attract highly skilled workers.
Jaroch is a member of the HART board and was a leading player in the 2010 campaign against the light-rail measure. She wasn't able to attend the July meeting but saw a tape of it, and what she saw gave her pause.
"It was concerning that the CEO's that were selected seemed to have a predilection toward rail, and if you go through the entire meeting it seemed to be totally centered on bringing in rail ... this is a transportation meeting, and not a 'let's try to get rail into our community meeting,'" Jaroch told CL.
Jaroch believes the group needs to look at all the options on the table, and said she was dismayed that only rail seemed to be the focus of that meeting. She brought up her opinion at Monday's HART board meeting, where her colleagues assured her that any conversation about a ballot measure to raise money for such a plan was not at all imminent.
Connect Tampa Bay has been circling Tuesday's meeting for weeks, urging their supporters to attend.
The meeting will take place Tuesday, Aug. 6, from 6-8 p.m. on the 26th floor (conference rooms A and B) of the County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.