Dr. Jim Davison Presents Plan to Fund Transportation In Hillsborough County Without A Tax Hike
Hillsborough County can fund its transportation and transit NEEDS without a massive new sales tax hike. Go directly here to watch Dr. Jim Davison's presentation at Cafe Con Tampa last Friday of an alternative transportation funding proposal that requires no additional new taxes.
Unfortunately at last Wednesday's BOCC meeting, all of the Hillsborough County commissioners except Commissioner White voted to move forward on putting another AFT 2.0 do-over 30 year1 PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax on the November ballot.
When Hillsborough county commissioners and the staff who works for them consider only one funding solution for anything, they are not being honest, transparent, responsible or fair. Such behavior does not occur in the real world where options, trade-offs, new ideas, compromises, and unintended consequences must be discussed and considered before decisions are made.
Dr. Davison (presentation below) not only presented an alternative funding solution, he called out the huge discrepancies between what the County is telling the public and what Hillsborough's Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) included in their 20 year 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).
The Transportation "Open Houses" was the County's messaging campaign and storyboard charts about the County's transportation "needs. These meetings excluded HART and the municipalities from exhibiting.
The key chart below from Dr. Davison's presentation relates to Hillsborough County's share of transportation funding revenue streams.
The County's proposed funding plan includes a new 1 PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION tax hike AND a new 5 CENT gas tax hike. The County considers existing revenues available for transportation are only the gas tax, mobility fees and grants. That is not true.
The discrepancies between the County's proposed funding and Hillsborough's Transportation Planning Organization's proposed funding plan are huge.
Neither the County nor the TPO include the County's growing ad valorem property tax revenues that historically always funded transportation in Hillsborough County.
The TPO's plan assumes the existing ONE-HALF PERCENT infrastructure aka stadium tax - that was sold to voters in 1996 to build RayJay stadium for the Bucs, fund schools, fund transportation and other infrastructure projects - would be re-authorized after it expires in 2026.
However, the TPO's 20 year LRTP assumes every penny of a re-authorized ONE-HALF PERCENT infrastructure tax would be spent on Transportation. That is impossible because the County and the municipalities spend the infrastructure tax on many types of infrastructure projects - parks, fire stations, law enforcement needs, new facilities etc etc.
There are huge discrepancies between the TPO's gas tax revenues and mobility fees and the County's revenue numbers. The TPO does not include grants but historically the County receives transportation grants.
The TPO's LRTP are created with input from the County, municipalities and HART. All 5 Tampa Centric Democrat county commissioners sit on the TPO Board. They approved the LRTP. Some of them have even called the LRTP the "gold standard".
The Tampa Centric 5 pushing another 30 year ONE-PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION transit tax hike must:
Explain the huge discrepancies between the County and the TPO revenue estimates
Answer whether they assume the existing ONE-HALF PERCENT infrastructure tax will be re-authorized and if so, will all of it be used for transportation?
Explain why the TPO's projected gas tax revenues are 8 times higher than the County's projected gas tax revenues
The Hillsborough TPO LRTP's, required under Federal law, must be submitted to the Feds and the State. They must include reasonable revenue estimates. Spending 100% of a broadly used re-authorized infrastructure tax on transportation is not reasonable or a valid assumption.
Dr. Davison's projected revenue estimates were previously validated by Hillsborough County's own budget department.
No wonder in 2018 All for Transportation (AFT) refused to publicly debate their opposition, rammed their rail tax onto the ballot at the last minute and used wealthy special interests donors to shut down those who opposed AFT.
Such lack of debate, transparency and bully tactics must never happen again.
Dr. Davison's information was eye opening to those who attended Cafe Con Tampa on Friday. It caused people to think and generated lots of questions. That is healthy.
For a fair, honest and balanced debate, Dr. Davison's information and proposed transportation funding plan must be publicly disseminated and discussed.
Any group who would like Dr. Davison or a representative from Fix Our Roads First speak to their organization can contact Fix Our Roads First at their website or email them directly at info@FixOurRoadsFirst.com.
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