As it was reported by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) members at Monday's meeting that the planned first route for the proposed light rail system in Hillsborough County wouldn't be decided upon until November, concerns were expressed that there would not be enough information for voters to decide about the one cent transit tax when they go to the polls on November 2.
HART board member and Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita expressed concerns that the lack of a finished plan to present to voters come November 2 could derail the one cent transit tax.
"This has always concerned me," the Commissioner and mayoral candidate said. "There are a lot of variables that we don't have nailed yet." Ferlita spoke after Ron Rotella, the Executive Director of the Westshore Alliance, expressed concerns that the community would not know about which will be the preferred first route to be constructed of the light rail system until November.
HART's Mary Shavalier, HART's Chief of Planning & Program Development, announced that there will be two public hearings on the plan on September 25 and September 30. There will be other community meetings conducted in September. That public reaction would come back before HART officials in October, she explained, and then the decision about what route to go forward first with would be decided on in November.
That will be after Hillsborough County voters go to the polls to vote, however, and Commissioner Ferlita, who stressed today that despite her serious concerns she remains a supporter of the project, says that the lack of a detailed plan at this time will only feed into the narrative threaded by opponents that voters will be voting on a measure that nobody is exactly what it will do.