Oct 28, 2022 - News

Hillsborough County residents to vote on transit, but will it matter?

Ybor City in 1920.

Seventh Avenue in Ybor City, 1920. Photo: State Archives of Florida

When Hillsborough County voters head to the polls, they'll get to decide whether the county should raise its sales tax to pay for improvements to roads, intersections and the public transit system for the next 30 years.

  • Increasing sales tax from 7.5 to 8.5 cents on the dollar would generate $342 million the first year — to be divided between local municipalities, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, and the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization.

Yes, but: Due to a legal challenge and recent court ruling, the question could be moot.

What's happening: Commissioners in April voted to put the transit tax on the ballot, but earlier this month, Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Anne-Leigh Gaylord Moe sided with a conservative activist and ruled that the language used on the ballot "misleads the public."

  • But it was too late to delete the question from ballots.

The latest: County commissioners recently appealed after an emergency meeting this month, adding that voters should vote on the referendum while the Second District Court of Appeal considers the appeal.

Flashback: This is the second time the courts have blocked a tax to fund roads, buses, bike lanes and sidewalks in Hillsborough.

  • Voters passed one in 2018, but it was halted by a legal challenge.

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