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Figured it was time to give this its own thread... Articles keep popping up about it every few days.





Hillsborough officials: Put 1-cent transit tax to vote in 2016


By Liz Crampton, Times Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:36pm



TAMPA — City and county officials want Hillsborough County voters to approve an additional 1-cent sales tax in 2016 to pay for transportation improvements including roads, buses and rail, they announced Tuesday.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill predicted, under an optimistic scenario, that if voters pass the tax referendum they will see some light rail in downtown Tampa within seven years.

Members of a policy leadership group that includes elected officials are set to review details of the transportation proposal at a public meeting Aug. 12.

County voters soundly defeated a tax-for-transit plan in 2010 that also included funding for more roads, buses and rail.

This time around, officials hope to forge better relations with voters with more specifics about projects and more clarity of who would oversee such ambitions: the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit agency, which officials seek to revamp from running the county bus system into taking a much broader role on all modes of transportation.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/transp...ut-1-cent-transit-tax-to-vote-in-2016/2190528
 

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And I added a comment there, that's the same thing I've been saying here for years...

I don't like the idea of using such a big piece of sales tax revenues for something like this, nor do I like increasing the sales tax. Nor do I support a countywide property tax increase. We know neither is fair to big portions of the population in different ways.

So how do we pay for transit, and keep it fair? I've been saying for a long time that it should be a mix of revenue sources. I've been thinking of a particular mix for a while now... Just a 1/2 cent sales tax, an increase in gas tax, and a slightly higher property tax rate in corridors provided with transit.

And I think we should cover the 1/2 cent sales tax portion by ending the 1/2 cent currently spent on low income healthcare, that is basically covered now by components of Obamacare. That would cover half of the cost, without even raising anyone's taxes. (And people can certainly make a philosophical argument that it's a better investment of local taxpayer money to provide transit and empower the poor to reach a better job and pay for their own healthcare. ) So that would cover half of the cost, with the rest being covered by taxes assessed directly to those who will most benefit from the transportation improvements, I think that would be a very fair way to pay for a necessary investments in our economy and ourselves.

This is just an example of many ways to fund transportation needs. If the only choice given to voters will be a full 1 cent sales tax, I'll support it, but there's a better way if we work together to figure it out.

(Note, there's a 0.0% chance I'll still live here then, but I live here now, so I see no reason not to make my opinion known)
 

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And I added a comment there, that's the same thing I've been saying here for years...

I don't like the idea of using such a big piece of sales tax revenues for something like this, nor do I like increasing the sales tax. Nor do I support a countywide property tax increase. We know neither is fair to big portions of the population in different ways.

So how do we pay for transit, and keep it fair? I've been saying for a long time that it should be a mix of revenue sources. I've been thinking of a particular mix for a while now... Just a 1/2 cent sales tax, an increase in gas tax, and a slightly higher property tax rate in corridors provided with transit.

And I think we should cover the 1/2 cent sales tax portion by ending the 1/2 cent currently spent on low income healthcare, that is basically covered now by components of Obamacare. That would cover half of the cost, without even raising anyone's taxes. (And people can certainly make a philosophical argument that it's a better investment of local taxpayer money to provide transit and empower the poor to reach a better job and pay for their own healthcare. ) So that would cover half of the cost, with the rest being covered by taxes assessed directly to those who will most benefit from the transportation improvements, I think that would be a very fair way to pay for a necessary investments in our economy and ourselves.

This is just an example of many ways to fund transportation needs. If the only choice given to voters will be a full 1 cent sales tax, I'll support it, but there's a better way if we work together to figure it out.

(Note, there's a 0.0% chance I'll still live here then, but I live here now, so I see no reason not to make my opinion known)
I completely agree with this. Higher gas taxes make sense but your spot on with your assessment for low income healthcare. With Obamacare as is as a safety net, and the fact that jobs will be the best way for the poor to receive quality health and those jobs come with better infrastructure/etc.
 

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A meatier article about what went on today...

Eric Snider
Reporter- Tampa Bay Business Journal
Jul 29, 2014, 12:49pm EDT Updated: Jul 29, 2014, 2:13pm EDT



In a lead-up to asking voters to approve a penny tax for transportation in 2016, Hillsborough County on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious and finely detailed plan to radically transform transportation in the county over the next three decades.

The additional sales tax is expected to generate $6.1 billion in extra revenue over 30 years. That money, along with myriad other funding sources, will cover a vast range of mobility options, from roadway widening to light rail to Bus Rapid Transit, all the way down to sidewalks and trails.

During a 90-minute media session, county administrator Mike Merrill and several other members of the task force who contributed to the 15-month endeavor showed two videos that will be part of an effort to win public approval.

“We’re talking about nothing short of changing the culture about how we travel and move around the county,” Merrill said.

The most interesting part to me...
Merrill ventured what he regarded as a viable timetable: The referendum passes in spring 2016, and tax revenue starts flowing in the following month, at which point Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) — which will be made over into a super-agency controlling mobility issues — would quickly start identifying and beginning projects.

Intelligent traffic management systems and increased bus routes could happen fairly quickly. Managed lanes on I-275 would not be far down the line. In three to four years, we could see Bus Rapid Transit or some sort of express bus system.

"And I wouldn’t be surprised to see some rail in effect in seven years,” Merrill said, the first stick of which would run from Westshore to downtown.
http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay...ws&u=xUOE2+b9aYe5qfMKx9muUtaE/Hm&t=1406661457
 

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We did have somewhat of a thread for this, but it was more of a poll question. I've gone ahead and stickied this and the Greenlight Pinellas thread.
 

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Raising gas taxes aren't going to do the trick in the long term. Something much more sustainable will need to be developed, but Vehicle Miles Traveled isn't the silver bullet either. Not even close actually, as it would be very costly to implement, then you have all the privacy dogs crying...
 

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^Are you suggesting that raising gas taxes won't raise a single cent of revenue to help pay for transportation needs? That makes no sense, unless you're asserting that EVs are going to completely take over the auto industry?

I'm just talking about the first referendum to get the ball rolling on funding and implementation. I don't favor a single source solution for Hillsborough, like a big sales tax increase. It should be a mix of revenue sources, and so long as roads are part of the spending equation, a gas tax should absolutely be one of those revenue streams. As the county continues to grow and urbanize over time, obviously there would need to be further funding through other initiatives to build out a complete transportation network capable of serving the county's future residents and businesses.
 

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^Are you suggesting that raising gas taxes won't raise a single cent of revenue to help pay for transportation needs? That makes no sense, unless you're asserting that EVs are going to completely take over the auto industry?

I'm just talking about the first referendum to get the ball rolling on funding and implementation. I don't favor a single source solution for Hillsborough, like a big sales tax increase. It should be a mix of revenue sources, and so long as roads are part of the spending equation, a gas tax should absolutely be one of those revenue streams. As the county continues to grow and urbanize over time, obviously there would need to be further funding through other initiatives to build out a complete transportation network capable of serving the county's future residents and businesses.
I definitely understand your points and agree that initially, there should be mixed revenue sources, rather than just a singular dedicated sales tax. My point was, the gas tax in my view isn't sustainable for the long term.
 

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There are two different videos. The 20 minute video is a long-winded explanation of all currently planned projects that would be constructed as part of the plan, while the shorter video offers a summary explanation. Both are only drafts of the final videos and will be changed before they start getting serious airtime.

HART is going to be presenting an updated Transit Development Plan to the board in the near future, which will better explain the transit initiatives presented in the videos. For example, the Dale Mabry MetroRapid corridor has been upgraded to full-on fixed guideway BRT/LRT. There are several new bus routes on the map which were not included in the 2014 TDP but were present in previous TDPs as low priority projects that were pushed back beyond the 10-year TDP time frame. For example, the Van ****/Northwest County local service is back on the board after hovering just outside of the 10-year timeframe that the TDP covers for almost a decade now.
 

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^^
Which I will guess includes the infamous Calverts...

In anticipation of NTFT Hillsborough (the "original" NTFT) re-igniting their frivolous antics now that NTFT Pinellas is a household name, I've created the following Facebook Page.
https://www.facebook.com/notaxfortrackshillsborough

And from my understanding, NTFT Hillsborough technically still exists, you just don't hear much of anything right now. Once the referendum is solidified for 2016, they will come raging back.
 

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Jason I understand that its been a fucking difficult battle making any headway in the way of transportation in this area, I know that if anything does get passed we'll all be elderly before we ever see a decent rail system, I know your go to Idea to make things better is "Move" and you boast time and time again about how you won't be living here in a couple of years but don't kid yourself you have a love for this area and you want to see it succeed, if you didn't you wouldn't be a fixture on this message board like the rest of us.
Oakland county's electorate isn't much different from Hillsborough, and the way they played things out in Troy was a standard setter for how to deal with the anti tax Teajadist, They changed the conversation from Taxes to what would happen without the benefits of having a library. So lets bounce around some Ideas and try to figure out how we could use that same tactic.
 

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I really think that transit proponents spending time and money to cynically spread misinformation would backfire.

I think one of the failures in transit initiatives around here is in not explaining the costs of an auto-only infrastructure. (And I'm not talking about just monetary costs) Both to individuals and to the community at large. To me, that's the basis for the discussion in the first place. This is what exists, this is roughly what it will cost individuals and the community at large to perpetuate it and expand it. This is the transit we can do instead, and this is roughly what the costs would be to individuals and the community at large under that plan.

A lot of people literally think that only a few million is spent each year on the region's roads. So when they see sums exceeding $100 million being proposed to be spent each year on transit, they flip. They also think that gas taxes pay for all of the road expenses.

They also never think about the vast differences in safety, because no one explains it (car accidents have killed over a million people over the past 25 years, and have injured millions more. Locally, hundreds die every year). Or the potential cost savings to families who can drop a 2nd or 3rd car, or individuals who can go car-free. (which adds up to tens of thousands of dollars over time)

I'm out of time for now...
 

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^^
Good points Jason, and very true. I am hoping to help change that by educating voters on how highway expansion for instance will only get us so far.

I'm confident however that efforts from CTB, etc. will also assist in educating voters. In fact, if it weren't for kmthurman and others, Hillsborough officials would not even be at this point. They would still be sitting on their hinds waiting for the Greenlight Pinellas decision.
 

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Lets cut the bullshit for a second, 2016 is the best chance we're going to have for a while.
The vote would take place during a presidential election cycle where it looks like, whether you like her or not, Hillary Clinton is running. Democrats, Progressives, Liberals ect. will be turning out in higher numbers maybe numbers we saw in 2008. while I wouldn't completely write off a cynical approach...you're probably right that an all out information campaign bombardment would be the best move.
In 2010 the referendum passed within city limits, and that was in a mid term year when conservatives usually come out in bigger numbers so I'm confident it will pass in the city again, this time by a larger number. The trick is to get people from the county to go for it.
Voter turnout in Hillsborough in 2012 was 72% In 2010 it was 47%.
there is a solid shot this referendum could pass in 2016.
Slightly off topic but there is a solid chance greenlight could pass in Pinellas, why? They love charlie crist, he's the home team. In 2010 with no party affiliation he beat Marco rubio by 7,000 votes this is with Kendrick meek getting 17% of the vote for himself as well.
Why does it matter if they love crist? well more people will be prone to vote for him and more people would be willing to come out to vote because of him, if they can get him to some how throw his support behind greenlight then they have a great chance.
 
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