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Lawmaker Asks For Public Transportation Commission Investigation

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Wikimedia - Creative Commons

A Tampa-area lawmaker is calling for an investigation of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission.

State Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, wrote a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, stating that lines have been blurred between "the regulator and the entities they regulate." She singled out Kyle Cockream, executive director of the group that oversees the regulation of public vehicles in the county.

Young claims that recent emails show the PTC used taxi drivers in sting operations to help fine Uber and Lyft drivers. As part of the sting, drivers were fined for not having commercial insurance and operating without a public vehicle driving license.

“The public cannot rely on impartiality in their government,” she wrote. “The disturbing revelations of the relationship between the PTC, Mr. Cockream, and members of the taxi industry in Hillsborough County merit a full review to determine if ethical or legal boundaries have been violated.”

PTC Vice-Chairman David Pogorilich said he’s not worried about Young’s letter. He thinks the group that consists of appointed officials from the county, and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City, has done nothing wrong.

“I will tell you that interesting happen when it's an election year,” he said. “I don't think that the State Attorney is going to give it one iota of attention.”

He said this was simply another sting operation that involved individuals who were off the clock.

Both Young and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn have called to abolish the PTC. However, Pogorilich said if that were to happen, the transportation industry would be a mess.

“It’s going to be the wild, wild west,” he said. “You’re going to have gypsy cabs running around, they’re probably going to get sued by the cab industry.”

Young, who is in a tight race for state Senate District 18, said she would introduce a bill to abolish the PTC on the 2017 Legislative session.

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