Hillsborough County voters approved a one-cent sales tax to improve roads and public transportation on Tuesday.
The initiative, along with a half-cent sales tax approved for public schools, brings the county's sales tax to 8.5 percent, which is the highest in the state.
With 99 percent of the county precincts reporting, the initiative was leading by more than 70,000 votes or 57 to 43 percent.
“We are humbled by tonight’s results, which confirm that Hillsborough County is ready to invest in a transportation plan that truly benefits every part of the county,” said Tyler Hudson, chairman of All for Transportation, a community-led effort which put the referendum on the ballot.
They received support from various bipartisan organizations including the Sierra Club, Tampa Firefighters Local 754, Visit Tampa Bay and community leaders like Mayor Bob Buckhorn, and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
The one-cent sales tax for transportation will last for 30 years. According to the 2018 midterm ballot, the increase is expected to raise $276 million in revenue for the county per year.
The funds will be used to:
- Improve roads and bridges
- Expand public transportation
- Fix potholes
- Enhance bus services
- Relieve rush-hour bottlenecks
- Improve intersections
- Make walking and biking safer
According to estimates from All for Transportation, the tax will pay for 500 miles of new sidewalks, 10,040 miles of resurfaced roads and provide transit to 100,000 seniors and disabled persons.