LISTEN LIVE

Light Rail

People board a HART bus.
HART

Presenters at a Café Con Tampa event Friday talked about how they want Hillsborough County to spend transportation funds, particularly future revenue from the higher sales tax voters passed last fall.

Most of the time they talked about not wanting any rail service.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

The overriding message at the Tampa Bay Transit Forum on Friday was that it's finally time for action on mass transportation.

Lottie Watts / WUSF Public Media

This November, voters will decide the fate of Greenlight Pinellas, which includes a one-cent increase in the county’s sales tax in exchange for a long-term plan for light rail and expanded bus service.

This week on Florida Matters, we will hear from both sides of the debate. The conversation airs Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

Both sides on November's referendum to replace property taxes with a sales tax hike in Pinellas County are gearing up their campaigns. The opposition has brought in a big-name consultant, who will take part in a debate Tuesday night in St. Petersburg. WUSF's Steve Newborn spoke to Randal O'Toole about why he rails against light rail.

Passenger Rail Foes Meet with DOT, Gov. Scott's Office

Aug 31, 2014
oregonlive.com

The next stop for a group of wealthy opponents of a proposed Miami-to-Orlando passenger rail service is a meeting with officials behind the private venture.

The Coral Gables-based All Aboard Florida announced Thursday it would meet in a few weeks with the relatively new residential group from Jupiter and Martin County.

Hillsborough County might be on its way to having another major referendum on public transportation - in 2016.

A board made up of county commissioners and the county's three mayors unanimously agreed to move forward on a plan that would increase the size of the county's bus system, repave roads - and create the county's first light rail line.

A similar referendum was defeated at the polls in 2010, during the height of the recession.

Hillsborough County Adminstrator Mike Merrill said officials have a chance this time to change that outcome.

Carmel Delshad / WMFE

This November, voters in Pinellas County will decide whether or not to raise the county's sales tax to 8 percent -- the highest in the state -- to fund Greenlight Pinellas.  That's the transit plan that would expand bus service and help build a light rail connecting Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

The Suncoast Tiger Bay Club recently hosted a debate over the transit plan, and we'll take you there on Florida Matters Tuesday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 11 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

Transit is changing in other parts of Florida, and we take a look at the first phase of SunRail, which opened this month in Orlando. 


Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn staged his 2014 “State of the City” address inside the old Tampa Armature Works building on the east banks of the Hillsborough River. The one-story brick structure is where they used to store the trolleys that once connected Tampa’s neighborhoods to downtown.

The significance of the old trolley building was not lost on the 500 people watching as Buckhorn used his “bully pulpit” to call for a funding referendum to support expanded bus service and light rail in Tampa.