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Florida Matters

With Hillsborough's 1-Cent Tax Ruled Unconstitutional, How Does That Affect The County's Transportation Issues?

howard_franklin_bridge.jpg
Tampa Bay Next
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The Howard Frankland Bridge

Last month, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against the county’s 1-cent sales tax that was meant to fund transportation improvements. Without it, those improvements are delayed once again while Hillsborough’s roads, bridges and more continue to age.

On this week’s Florida Matters, we’re talking about what’s next for transportation in Hillsborough County, after the Florida Supreme Court struck down the county’s transportation sales tax.

In 2018, 57% of Hillsborough County voters approved a 1-cent sales tax to fund improvements — everything from sidewalks to better transit.

But after a long legal battle, the Florida Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional last month. It overruled the authority of the local county commission when it came to deciding on funding, the decision implied.

Now, voters might get to have their say on a replacement tax in 2022.

But Hillsborough’s transportation infrastructure can’t wait, said Beth Alden, executive director of the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Host Bradley George talks with her over the first half of the episode. They discuss why Florida as a state has difficulties gathering money for public works projects and more.

Then later on, we hear from Veronica Brezina-Smith, a reporter at the Tampa Bay Business Journal who covers transportation.

The county is working on how to refund the $472 million the tax raised, she said, but that process may prove tricky. How tricky? It's possible that Hillsborough residents may need show receipts to get their refunds.

You can hear more of their conversation as well as the one with Beth Alden by clicking the "Listen" button above, below the headline. Or you can also listen on the WUSF app under "Programs & Podcasts."

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