HART officials express concern about the delay in getting transit measure on the Hillsborough ballot

Members of HART, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, agreed today to send a letter to Hillsborough County Commision Chairman Ken Hagan today on the need for the board to quickly approve the ballot language for a proposed one cent sales tax referendum - preferably by the end of this week.

HART Executive Director David Armijo said that a meeting held Friday with TBARTA officials was successful in trying to get that language just right, but said he was disheartened later in the day when officials with the county's Finances Dept. raised further objections. Armijo called some of the objections "unnecessary."

Armijo said he appreciated the work done by the county and Tampa city attorney Chip Fletcher, but "somehow the ball keeps moving, the line keep moving, and we have to stop that."

HART board member Ron Govin agreed, saying, "Time is our enemy right now.  The big part hasn't started yet," meaning the campaign to advocate for the referendum.  "We have got to start real quickly."

A meeting of some of the top players involved with the proposal were scheduled to meet this afternoon to get back on the same page going into this Wednesday's Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Having voters approve a tax in Hillsborough County for rail/bus/road expansion projects is a challenge that has been heightened by the recession, and a campaign to rally behind it will not begin until there is an actual referendum for advocates to support.

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