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A lawsuit aims to keep Hillsborough's transportation tax referendum off the November ballot

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A lawsuit has been filed to keep a proposed Hillsborough County referendum on funding transportation projects off the November ballot.

The lawsuit aims to block a referendum that is coming back on the ballot a second time.

A lawsuit has been filed to keep a proposed Hillsborough County referendum on funding transportation projects off the November ballot.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by Karen Jaroch of Tampa. She previously campaigned against the referendum and is the Gulf States Regional Coordinator for Heritage Action for America, a conservative advocacy group.

Jaroch said the wording on the ballot does not meet the state's requirement for a simple and narrow question.

Hillsborough commissioners approved the referendum in April. It calls for a 1% sales tax increase over the next 30 years. It is estimated to raise $342 million in its first year. Nearly half would go to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. The county and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City would divide the rest.

Backers say it will help fight gridlock. But opponents say it would mainly help Tampa, with little benefit to rural parts of the county.

Voters approved a similar sales tax in 2018. But after a court challenge by Commissioner Stacy White, the state Supreme Court nullified it, saying public officials should control where the money is sent.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.