Just as we did in 2018, we will sound the warning again about the massive Bait and Switch Rail Tax do-over. The 2022 Rail Tax again massively overfunds HART - a transit agency with 2% ridership - who financially benefits the most from the tax hike.
The Rail Tax mandates/earmarks that 45% ($10-$11B) of the total Rail Tax dollars is TRANSIT-RESTRICTED and MUST go to HART - where most will be spent in the city of Tampa. But 74% of the total Rail Tax will be collected from taxpayers in unincorporated Hillsborough.
There are NO ROAD-RESTRICTED Funds in the Rail Tax. There are only General Purpose funds (54.5%) other than the 45% Transit Restricted funds. The last half-cent (.5%) will be spent on bureaucrats, growing the bureaucracy and enriching consultants.
Some of those General Purpose funds can also be spent on rail. Yes it's a rail tax!
The last half-percent of the Rail Tax is earmarked for the Hillsborough County Transportation Planning Organization (TPO). For decades, the TPO has wasted gobs of taxpayer dollars pushing rail tax boondoggles while failing to focus on improving the roads - a priority of the vast majority.
0%, yes ZERO PERCENT, is mandated or earmarked to fund new auto-lane capacity over 30 long years of the $23 BILLION Rail Tax.
There is NO funding dedicated for new road capacity projects desperately needed in unincorporated Hillsborough County in the Rail Tax. But taxpayers in unincorporated Hillsborough will pay the vast majority of the tax.
There is only 2.2% of "Remaining Funds" of the total $23 BILLION total Rail Tax not already mandated and appropriated in the Rail Tax Ordinance that may (or may not) fund new road capacity. Funding for any new roads in the Rail Tax is 0-2.2%.
Therefore, a maximum of only about $500 MILLION over 30 years Could (or Could Not) be used to fund new road capacity. But there's a caveat in the Rail Tax Ordinance about those "Remaining Funds".
|From County Rail Tax Ordinance 22-9
About $1.5 BILLION of the total Rail Tax is dedicated and must be spent on sidewalks, bike paths and trails, including additional sidewalks, bike paths and trails. Compare that to the 0% dedicated for new roads.
"it would be a wise idea for the individuals that need to understand transportation planning what additional capacity means….you actually can create the goal or achieve the goal of congestion reduction without adding lanes to the process."
The $23B Rail will increase traffic congestion and force taxpayers to spend Billions on rail/transit they will never use.