Three mayors from Hillsborough County cities are joining forces with several county commissioners and the chairman of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) to discuss a possible sales tax increase. Part of a plan called the GO Hillsborough initiative would increase the county sales tax by a half cent, with a majority of that money going towards road maintenance and improvements.
Thursday's vote in Tampa was to move ahead with the plan. But some commissioners said they needed more information.
Commissioner Sandra Murman wanted to know exactly why there needed to be a sales tax increase. She said the eastern and southern parts of the county haven't gotten their fair share of transportation dollars.
"If my community in my district does not get benefit from this plan, I will not support it," she said. "And it's plain and clear."
County Commissioner Stacy White was the only commissioner Thursday who said he did not want to continue with the plan.
"I just don't have enough information on this initiative just yet. I'm a 'no' on even drafting an ordinance right now," he said.
GO Hillsborough estimates the half-cent sales tax increase that would raise $117.5 million annually and $3.5 billion over 30 years. The money would fund backlog and future maintenance and bike and safety needs, relieve congestion with widened roads and intersections, improving bus transit service, and fund a modernized streetcar through downtown Tampa and to the airport or the University of South Florida. The group will meet again November 5th to hear the updates on the plan and cast a vote to draft an ordinance that would put the sales tax on a referendum next year.