Thursday, July 3, 2014

Talking Transit in Hillsborough County

There is a lot of attention today focused on transportation and transit.  Pinellas and Polk counties have referendums on the ballot to raise their sales tax in November.  Pinellas referendum will raise taxes to expand their bus service and build a $2.5 billion light rail; Polk referendum will raise taxes for roads and to expand their bus service. 

In Hillsborough, we are waiting for some kind of transportation "plan" from the Transportation Policy Leadership Group that was formed last year to address this issue.  And of course, we are anticipating how such plan will be funded and its costs.

In addition, there's been attention on our local transit agency, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), what their role currently is, what some on the Transportation Policy Leadership Group think it should be and where does HART go from here. 

HART MetroRapid
In order to understand the context of all this, I sat down with Karen Jaroch who is an engineer by trade and is currently on the HART Board.  Please note that Karen is not speaking on behalf of HART.  We wanted to know what HART has done since the 2010 light rail referendum was defeated and Karen graciously agreed to sit down and provide some very informative and valuable information.

What HART has shown since 2010 is a transit agency can improve and expand their service in a cost-effective way without using federal funds and even come in under budget.  

The conversation for what's next for HART will continue.  

We look forward to the August Transportation Policy Leadership Group meeting where a list of proposed transportation projects will be presented.

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