HART, PSTA go forward on possible merger

In a rare joint meeting, the complete boards of HART and PSTA voted Monday to approve a consultant for a state-mandated report that will investigate the pros and cons of the two local transit agencies merging together.

Last winter the Florida Legislature passed a bill sponsored by Clearwater state Senator Jack Latvala that would force both Hillsborough and Pinellas transit agencies to look at merging their services, saying that he thinks that there could be millions of dollars in savings as a result. However many board members, particularly with the Hillsborough group, remain skeptical if not outright hostile to that top down request.

Both boards approved the selection of McCollom Management Consulting to be the firm that will be used to present findings to the two boards, under an accelerated timeline.

That's because the bill passed in Tallahassee said the report needs to be completed by February 1, 2013.