A Hillsborough County judge already said that the county’s 1-cent transportation tax is legal, and now County Commissioners have voted to approve how revenue from the tax will be spent.
At Wednesday’s 4-3 vote, Hillsborough County Commissioners voted to reinstate that 54% of the sales tax revenue will go to the county and three cities within the county based on population.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will get 45% to enhance its existing bus system and work on new transit projects. The last 1% goes to the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization for planning and development.
Stacy White, Ken Hagan and Sandy Murman all voted against the allocation of funds. Commission chair Les Miller voted in favor of the allocations along with Mariella Smith, Pat Kemp and Kimberly Overman.
As part of the reinstatement, 27% of the general purpose funds must be spent on safety enhancements to existing streets, roads and bridges. Transportation network improvements to enhance pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure get another 12%.
The vote is significant in that it holds up the will of the 57% of voters who approved the sales tax in November. FlaPol said that 10 Bay area residents — most of whom live in the suburbs — argued that “disenfranchised less dense areas of the county like south and east Hillsborough by greatly limiting funding expenditures for new lane capacity.”
As part of the reinstatement, the pool of funds can be used for vehicle capacity increases to intersections, but cannot add lane capacity.
All For Transportation Chair Tyler Hudson felt otherwise and lauded commissioners' move to honor the will of the voters.
“This… will address the most critical needs of our county — safer roads, reduced congestion, and expanded transit options,” Hudson said. “We look forward to standing with Commissioner Miller, Commissioner Kemp, Commissioner Smith, and Commissioner Overman to continue advocating on behalf of the 282,000 voters that made this extraordinary investment.”