Saturday, February 29, 2020

Peak at the Future: CSX jams up South Tampa

South Tampa got a peak at their jammed up future when CSX shut down several roads cross CSX tracks for planned maintenance, allegedly without proper notification to the City of Tampa and residents. It sounded like Armageddon from reading the local press reports. The Eye daughter even called complaining her normal 15 minute commute home from work increased to over an hour. Politicians and bureaucrats weighed in.

Then it got really confused.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Who Knew? HART's Mega Millions Spending Spree Funds Existing Services With New Transit Tax

As we posted in November 2018, transit agency HART has no plans for how to spend Billions of new All for Transportation (AFT) sales tax monies.

So right out of the gate, HART plans to fund their existing services, currently funded by property tax revenues, with the new AFT tax.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Hillsborough County Commissioner White Responds With Facts to Tampa Bay Times Attack

Reprinting Hillsborough County commissioner Stacy White response to a recent Tampa Bay Times editorial:

After reading the Tampa Bay Times’ Feb. 23 editorial, “Leading the way on transportation,'' I was struck by how it seemed long on rhetoric but short on facts. As a commissioner who was mentioned by name, allow me to present some further comments and provide the facts surrounding the “back-up” tax plan.

The voters of the county deserve to know the structural details of this “back-up” plan, which, outside of our Board of County Commissioners meetings, have not been comprehensively discussed. As an elected official, I firmly believe the voters of this county are more than capable of analyzing the facts and making a decision on whether this is a roads investment or a mass transit investment, but they need to see the entire picture.

Much like the previous surtax, 40 cents and 1 cent of every dollar of this tax levy, respectively, would go to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority and the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization, with the remaining portion split between unincorporated Hillsborough County and the three cities according to a population-based formula. Accordingly, there would be – at most – 44 cents of every dollar spent on roads capacity projects (i.e., road widening or building new roads) that benefit unincorporated Hillsborough County.

The plan allows the commission to allocate more of its share than the dedicated 40 cents of every dollar to HART. The commission could also spend a portion of its share on things like road resurfacing, bicycle lanes and sidewalks. This means that it’s possible for unincorporated Hillsborough County to receive less than 44 cents of every dollar for added road capacity. If this tax is viewed as an investment, that’s a return on investment of 44 cents on the dollar for road capacity projects in unincorporated Hillsborough County – and potentially much lower.

Plant City residents would see little more than 1 cent of every dollar of this tax go toward transportation projects within their city. That’s not a penny of every dollar spent by taxpayers, but a penny of every dollar of the tax placed into the government coffers. That equates to paying the tax on two $50 restaurant tabs for Plant City residents to see just 1 cent spent on projects in their city. It’s also important to note that Plant City does not participate in HART and, therefore, does not receive services from HART. Unless this is changed before the election, it would be unfair to definitively tell Plant City residents they will receive services from HART.

The crux of this is whether the plan is a roads investment or a mass transit investment, and, if the latter – does this mass transit investment go from Lutz to Fort Lonesome? If the citizens of this county are presented with a lawful referendum this November and express that they are happy with the returns on investment listed above by passing it, then so be it. But the citizens should be armed with the objective facts, fair and square.

Stacy R. White is a Hillsborough County commissioner representing District 4, which is comprised of east and south Hillsborough County.

Monday, February 24, 2020

April Fools Day Mischief: The Rail Tax Do Over

The Tax is Back!

Hillsborough County BOCC Chair Les Miller and Commissioner Kimberly Overman proposed at the February 19 BOCC meeting to put All For Transportation (AFT) 2.0, another $16 Billion 30 year 1% transit tax, on the November ballot.

And to top that off, the public hearing for the All for Transportation (AFT) transit tax 2.0 is scheduled for April Fool's Day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Panic in the Air!

Now that the AFT related lawsuit made it to the Florida Supreme Court, its become clear the future of the tax is in jeopardy. Fear and panic is in the air. Rather than calming down, reflecting upon failures and lessons learned, developing a real transportation plan for all constituencies in Hillsborough County, the BOCC wants to double down again on the past failures, starting at tomorrow's February 19, 2020 BOCC meeting.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Anti-Car Brigade: $16B Transit Tax Tied to Tearing Down Interstates and Road Diets

Who knew? All for Transportation is the anti-car brigade who want to force us out of our cars to use public transit.

Our latest podcast (about 20 minutes) identifies some currently proposed transit projects that use major road diets for transit. Listen to the podcast as we discuss the proposed I-275 tear down and other road diet transit projects that will require funding by the All for Transportation transit tax.

Monday, February 3, 2020

No One Should Be Above the Rule of Law, Time to Throw Out the All for Transportation Transit Tax!

The oral arguments on the All for Transportation (AFT) lawsuits will be heard the morning of February 5, 2020.
From FL Supreme Court Docket Schedule
(click to enlarge)
One can watch the arguments livestream on Wednesday or view an archived video recording here.

It is worth reading some of the legal documents related to the case. The documents associated with the original case is found at the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court by searching on case number 18-CA-11749, clicking on the magnifying glass under View and selecting Events/Documents.

We suggest reading White's Amended Complaint, the Depositions of Commissioner White and AFT's Chair Tyler Hudson and the Final Summary Judgment where Judge Barbas strikes major portions, including all the mandated spending percentages, from AFT's charter amendment.

The documents filed regarding the Appeals on the AFT lawsuits to the Florida Supreme Court can be found under Case Number SC19-1250. It is worth reading the Merit Briefs, the Amicus Curiae Briefs, and the Cross Reply Briefs.

A must read is the Cross Reply Brief filed on 11/13/2019 by Commissioner White's attorney Chris Altenbernd.

With the AFT legal process playing out this week at the Florida Supreme Court, it's time for some reminders about the AFT transit tax and why we hope it will be thrown out.