Half-Cent Transportation Sales Tax Considered for Tampa's Hillsborough County
"Hillsborough County political leaders expressed nearly unanimous support Wednesday for putting a half-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase on the November 2016 ballot to finance road and mass transit projects," reports Mike Salinero.
Hillsborough County is home to Tampa, but not St. Petersburg across the bay. The funding would help implement a transportation plan recently developed for the area, which, according to Salinero, would "devote two-thirds of the tax’s proceeds to resurfacing existing roads and building new ones. Just over a third of the revenues would go to transit." Later, however, Salinero writes that
"The tax would generate about $117.5 million a year, enough to catch up the county’s backlog of road maintenance in about 10 years….Altogether, about $2.1 billion would go towards road and bridge maintenance, new roads, and intersection improvements."
Salinero notes that despite the large amount of money devoted to roads, transit advocates have expressed cautious support for the plan, noting that tax would likely generate enough revenue for Tampa to start a light rail line. A 2010 tax referendum would have funded a light rail line as the major expenditure from a one-cent sales tax, but voters soundly defeated that effort.