Monday, April 18, 2022

Cannot Trust Those Closely Intertwined With All for Transportation Especially As AFT 2.0 $18 BILLION Rail Tax Do-Over Is Put on the Nov. Ballot

The local rail cartel includes elected officials, unelected bureaucrats, transit activists, some local media allies, lawyers and wealthy special interests who keep funding rail tax boondoggle referendums. 

These people are closely intertwined with the pro rail All for Transportation (AFT) Political Action Committee (PAC) funded by the wealthy special interests. Their collusive behavior and cozy relationships breeds distrust.

They work together, whether ethical or not, and have stacked transportation decision making positions in Hillsborough County with themselves. The result is they reside within their own group think bubble they rarely venture out of.

The taxpayer funded agency Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) embedded an All for Transportation (AFT) Political Action Committee video on their taxpayer funded website. Below is a screenshot captured of the video displaying AFT Co-founder Rena Frazier.

TPO embedded AFT video on
their website

This is unethical, especially when the TPO would be handed a boatload of new millions from the AFT rail tax. But is it legal and A-OK for a taxpayer funded agency to embed content from a biased Political Action Committee on their website?

The TPO removed the video only after they got caught.

We know AFT met with the Director of the TPO, Beth Alden, at the TPO's office in County Center in 2018. They discussed AFT's rail tax that would greatly benefit the Alden's organization.

The County has specifically stated NO political activity can be conducted by the public in County Center. But an unelected bureaucrat from the TPO can meet with a Political Action Committee about a highly politicized rail tax referendum in County Center?

I asked Alden on August 27, 2018 about meeting with AFT and the proposed AFT rail tax. She tried to respond that she had not taken much time looking at the transit tax hike petition.

We then found out Alden was so knowledgeable about AFT's rail tax that Tampa City Council representative Luis Viera invited Alden to speak about it at the August 23, 2018 Tampa City Council public meeting. As reported here:
When Tampa City Councilman Louis Viera, who sits on the MPO Board, was contacted, he confirmed that Alden was invited to tell the Tampa City Council what the transit tax hike referendum would be funding. When Viera was asked if the City Council was going to invite someone to speak from the All for Transportation PAC who wrote the transit tax hike and got it on the ballot, he said that would be a "waste of time".
Why did Alden feign ignorance about AFT's rail tax on August 27, 2018?

Tampa's Public Woks Director Jean Duncan was also invited to the August 23, 2018 Tampa City Council. AFT's rail tax would hand the city of Tampa over a BILLION dollars of new AFT dollars. Duncan, another unelected bureaucrat, astoundingly presented the AFT Political Action Committee's logo'd REFERENDUM Fact Sheet.

Tampa Public Works Director Jean Duncan
publicly presents AFT's Referendum Fact Sheet 

AFT was NOT initiated by any elected official. But pro AFT rail tax referendum presentations were being given by unelected bureaucrats in Tampa City Hall as if it had been.

In addition, the City of Tampa uploaded an AFT Political Action Committee video to their city governments Youtube Channel. 

The Hillsborough TPO has failed the residents of Hillsborough County for many years. Even with a School Board member added to the TPO in 2015, the TPO has totally ignored all the road improvements required for 38 new schools planned in the County over the next 15 years. 

What Alden failed to say in her August 23, 2018 presentation is the AFT rail tax does NOT fund new road capacity, including the new capacity REQUIRED to build new schools. The TPO has focused way too much time on rail and tearing down interstates instead of improving the roads and highways in Hillsborough County. 

Who sits on the TPO's governing Board who are supposed to provide Oversight and who approve all the TPO's transportation plans? The Tampa Centric 5 Democrat county commissioners and the CEO of HART. 

The Tampa focused commissioners will vote April 20th to put the AFT 2.0 $18 Billion ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) rail tax do-over on the November ballot. 

The Tampa Centric 5 are demanding taxpayers hand a $100 MILLION over 30 years to the failed TPO. The TPO stated in 2015 they only needed $16 MILLION over 20 years to do their mandated transportation planning. Where will all those new AFT 2.0 tax dollars go? To bloat Alden's TPO bureaucracy, turn the TPO into a taxpayer funded marketing agency for trains, transit, tearing down interstates and enrich crony consultants. This is total insanity.

The Tampa Centric 5 also demand taxpayers hand at least $8.2 BILLION to HART, a transit agency that has a dismal ridership of less than 2% and lots of issues.

As we reported hereAFT Chair Tyler Hudson and AFT Co-Founder Rena Frazier, four of the Tampa Centric 5 and Tampa Mayor Castor sit on the Tampa focused HART Board. 

Who was pro rail Mayor Castor's largest donor in 2019? Jeff Vinik, who dumped $53K into Castor's campaign. Vinik is AFT's largest donor.

HART has been mismanaged while these same people sit on the HART Board. 

The rail cartel's elected officials and numerous unelected bureaucrats are closely intertwined with AFT. These elected officials are intertwined with AFT's wealthy donors. 

These same elected officials are putting the AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over on the November ballot.

Taxpayers cannot trust these people with a penny more of any new tax.

Remember who these people are in November and how much distrust and damage they have caused Hillsborough County. 

Vote NO! 

Stay tuned and please subscribe here to Keep your Eye on EyeOnTampaBay. 


  1. History can be a great teacher or we can ignore the lessons at our own peril. Their lies are bigger this time then they were 2018. The people advocating for this 2.0 version could careless about roads, road deaths or the people's commute times. Actually if they had their way they would ban cars flat out and everyone would have to take a train , bus, bicycle or walk anywhere they wanted to go. These are the people who want your gas bill to go up, add another 1% of inflation to everyone and destroy the county. Their lying knows no bounds. Just vote no. There are other ways to fix our roads without ever increasing taxes. We just need to vote in the people who will do it.

  2. One point of information - the TPO webpage shown above was created *after* the All For Transportation referendum was approved by the voters in 2018.

    1. Ms. Alden, there was no date or time stamp for when the TPO uploaded All for Transportation's video to the TPO website. Regardless, are you confirming you believe it is fine and A-OK for content created by a biased Political Action Committee funded by wealthy downtown special interests who benefit greatly from AFT's tax hike be posted on your taxpayer funded public website? Content created by a Political Action Committee is political. In addition, 2 lawsuits had been filed challenging the AFT tax less than a month "after" the AFT tax had passed and was in the courts so the legality of AFT was already in question. Cozy relationships between taxpayer funded agencies and any Political Action Committee is always concerning. I certainly hope that does not become an issue in 2022.

    2. As we are at it, "One Point of Information"- Beth you stated that the County's figures on the cost and revenues are correct. Does this mean the TPO is going to amend the TIP and LRTP. With the spending allocations of 27% for Maintenance & Vulnerability reduction in the new referendum and the costs for maintenance alone as stated by the county and cities there will be huge revenue shortfalls in this category. Our roads are going to crumble Taking 47% of the money out of the new roads category that was in the 2045 LRTP and putting it in Maintenance leave a huge revenue gap in the 'Major Improvements for Economic Growth". The county and cities have told you the revenues available from the Gas Taxes for capital improvement program are about 90% less than quoted in the LRTP. The US Code and guidelines from the FHWA and FTA are pretty clear on this. Just as a point of information- are you going to amend the TIP and LRTP to return them to being Fiscally Constrained?