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Local / State

House Bill Filed To Abolish Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission

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State Senator Dana Young

A bill has been recently to abolish the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission.

The commission was created by the state to regulate transportation, but has been called into question by lawmakers over their struggles regulating ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

State Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, supports the bill—which was created by Representative Jamie Grant R-Tampa.

“There’s really no reason for Hillsborough County to have a regulatory agency like the PTC because it’s only unique to Hillsborough,” she said.

However, PTC vice-chair David Pogorilich, said they’re still needed.

“People hate us because we regulate,” he said. “What they don't understand is that the air you breathe is regulated, the food truck that everybody loves is regulated, the water you drink is regulated. Everything is regulated and I think we do a damn good job.”

Executive director Kyle Cockream is set to step down this month. He was accused of running a sting operation on Uber and Lyft drivers. According to emails obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, taxi drivers posed as ride-sharing customers and then directed them to a location where the drivers would be ticketed.

Pogorilich said lawmakers don’t have a good enough idea of what the PTC does that entitles them getting rid of it.

“I just don't see it happening, nor do I think it should,” he said. “There's just so many other pressing issues that the legislature body has to deal with.”

Young said abolishing the agency means the transportation industry in the county could have a fresh start.

“Presumably, the regulatory authority would just go to Hillsborough County and they would have a blank slate and they could choose to regulate at the level and in the manner that they see fit,” she said.

Earlier this year, board member Frank Reddick stepped down and former chairman Victor Crist resigned.

If the legislation is passed, the commission would be abolished on October 1st, but Pogorilich said he isn’t worried.

“They're going to try to do again what they tried to do last year," he said, "and I bet you a dollar that we end up with the same result that we had last year."