Business
12:36 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Report: Hillsborough-Pinellas Transit Merger Would Not Save Money

Merging Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties’ public transit systems does not make financial sense.

That's the initial report from a consulting firm hired by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. The findings were discussed Monday in a meeting that included board members from both groups, according to this article in the Tampa Tribune.

Here’s the financial breakdown:

A Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority trolley drives through Harbour Island.
A Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority trolley drives through Harbour Island.
Credit HART / HART

  • $1.1 million: Cost of forming a formal partnership.
  • $1.9 million: Cost of a full merger.

A merger could save $2.4 million annually by consolidating senior staff. But an expert questioned that figure, and some board members from both sides of the bay worried about other hidden costs, the Tribune reported.

"I read this report after watching the Bucs win Sunday when I was in a good mood," said Hillsborough County commissioner and HART board member Sandy Murman, according to the Trib. "I was not in a good mood when I finished. I think at this point a merger ... is out of the question. The increased costs would lead to Armageddon."

Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed a bill requiring HART and PSTA to study the pros and cons of a possible merger. The organizations hired McCollom Management Consulting to carry out the study, which must be completed by Feb. 1.

HART and PSTA will provide a public update on the study in two upcoming webinars:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 15 at noon

To register, email mejiam@gohart.org.