At Wednesday's May 4, 2022 Hillsborough County Commission meeting there are 3 Consent Agenda items for the County to hand taxpayer dollars to three so-called public-private "Transportation Management Organizations" (TMO).
Items on the Consent Agenda allow no discussion because all the items on the Consent Agenda are voted on with just one rubber stamp vote. Consent Agenda items are supposed to be used for routine, non-controversial agenda items.
This money is flowing right after the commission voted to put the AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over on the ballot.
All three of these TMO's are primarily Tampa focused.
The County created a Consent Agenda category "Community and Infrastructure Planning" for these handouts.
Consent Agenda A-4 hands county transportation tax dollars to the Tampa Downtown Partnership, a 501(c)(6) non-profit:
The Tampa Downtown Partnership also administers the Special Services District (SSD) program through an annual contract with the City of Tampa.
The Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Transportation Management Organization looks for ways to improve Downtown mobility, commuting, and parking options. The goal is to provide maximum accessibility and mobility to and within the urban core by offering multiple options that are fast, convenient, and sustainable.
The Transportation and Urban Design Committees keep Downtown stakeholders engaged, informed, and provide a voice for transportation and planning issues.
...the real key for a transit system isn't simply ridership. It's also how the system boosts development
I've been to some discussions, and the concepts may be too much for the public to grasp
Instead of density, we need to talk about compact development, and how that helps everyone.
I'M ASKING YOU TODAY TO TAKE ACTION AND VOTE TO APPROVE PUTTING THE 30 YEAR MOBILITY ONE CENT SALES TAX REFERENDUM ON THE BALLOT IN NOVEMBER TO FUND TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS THROUGHOUT HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY.
SO ON BEHALF OF THE TAMPA BAY DOWNTOWN PARTNERSHIP THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE FOR HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY AND I ENCOURAGE YOU TO APPROVE THIS ONE CENT SALES TAX REFERENDUM.
At the April 20, 2022 Referendum Public Hearing, the Downtown Partnership's Karen Kress spoke in support of the AFT 2.0 rail tax. She spoke of living in Boston in her 20'a taking the train for $27 a month. (The taxpayers must subsidize the vast majority of the cost of her train rides). Kress lamented that her children "only know Transport from the back of a car or on a Bike Trail and that's not OK".
Astoundingly Kress also said at the public hearing "I view taxes as my rent to live in America." Whoa!!
The Downtown Partnership was ALL IN for AFT's 2018 ILLEGAL rail tax according to this article appropriately titled Tampa Downtown Partnership backs Hillsborough transit tax plan.
Surprise! According to their 2020 990 tax filing, Tyler Hudson, the Chair of AFT, is a Director with the Downtown Partnership.
Membership in the Downtown Partnership range from an individual "downtown supporter" of $125 to corporate memberships of $10K.
Why is the County handing the Downtown Partnership county transportation tax dollars for something they already do and can fund themselves?
A County commissioner should ask to remove these items from the Consent agenda to allow discussion and questions to be answered.