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Voters Halt Greenlight Pinellas

Lottie Watts
WUSF Public Media

Voters in Pinellas County have rejected the Greenlight Pinellas transportation plan. 

The referendum included a one-cent sales tax increase to fund light rail and bus service improvements. It was rejected 62 percent to 38 percent. 

Opposition was headed by a group calling itself No Tax For Tracks.

"This is clearly a mandate from the people of Pinellas County that they don't want to pay more taxes and they don't want a light rail system," said Barb Haselden of No Tax For Tracks.  "I think that from our travels, in talking to thousands of people this year, everyone wants a better bus system for the public transportation. I think everyone agrees that this system needs to be fixed. But they do not want a rail. They are not interested in going that way."

ChrisSteinocher, co-chair of the Yes on Greenlight campaign, called the defeat "hard to take" but acknowledged asking people to pay more taxes is a "difficult conversation to have."

"There's got to be a value statement that resonates with them, and maybe we didn't have the right conversations, maybe we didn't have the right statement," Steinocher said. "I'm not surprised, I know how hard it is to ask people to do something different."

The pro-transit forces indicated they'll try again, pointing to other communities where similar measures failed.

"In a number of other metropolitan areas such as St. Louis, Denver, Phoenix, transportation measures didn't make it their first time out - we are not disillusioned," said Yes on Greenlight co-chair Don Ewing. "All of those areas now have thriving transit systems that we strive to have in Pinellas County."

Lottie Watts is our Florida Mattersproducer, and she also covers health and health policy for.
Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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