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Cash-Strapped Transit Agency Needs Funding Plan

<p>Forget major rail expansion. The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority hopes a new bill will first allow it to afford office space and hire an executive director.</p>
April 18, 2008, 11am PDT | Mike Lydon
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"The transportation authority responsible for creating a mass transit plan for the Tampa Bay area is so cash poor it can't hire an executive director.

Known as TBARTA -- an acronym for Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority -- the authority doesn't have money to lease office space, pay an administrative assistant or hire even one transportation engineer.

But the funding situation would change dramatically under a bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. His legislation would take millions of dollars from rental car surcharges now going to the Department of Transportation and divert the funds to regional transportation authorities such as TBARTA.

The authority represents Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties, and offers one of the best chances to unite the region behind a single mass transit plan."

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Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 in The Tampa Tribune
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