No 'fake news': All For Transportation clears up myths - Florida Politics

No ‘fake news’: All For Transportation clears up myths

With less than a month remaining before the Nov. 6 election, the All For Transportation campaign is trying to combat what it says is misinformation about the 1 percent sales tax referendum on the Hillsborough County ballot.

“With an existing backlog of $9 billion in transportation projects and an estimated 700,000 more people expected to move into Hillsborough County within the next 30 years, we can’t continue to ignore our transportation and transit problems,” said Tyler Hudson, All For Transportation chair.

But a ‘Yes’ vote in November will be a decisive step toward reducing congestion, making our roads safer, and improving our overall quality of life.”

The group documented several misconceptions it has heard from voters.

Some think the All For Transportation plan is the same plan that was rejected in 2010. That referendum was similar in that it would have raised sales tax 1 percent, but its provisions were vastly different.

Moving Hillsborough Forward, the 2010 transit initiative, was mostly focused on transit enhancements. Of the money raised, 75 percent would have gone toward those projects and the plan lacked restrictions on how the money was spent.

This year’s transportation plan allocated 45 percent to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority with most of the rest going to cities and Hillsborough County to pay for roads and safety projects, among other non-transit needs.

That’s another misconception campaigners are hearing from residents worried the tax won’t ease congestion or pay for new lanes or roads.

The referendum would use about 20 percent of the $280 million raised each year to pay for all of the road widening and new road projects in the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s long-range plan that are currently backlogged and un-funded.  

All For Transportation campaigners are also reminding voters that the county does not spend enough on transportation. There’s a $9 billion backlog in transportation projects and that number gets bigger every year as the county continues to fall short on keeping up with transportation needs.

The campaign is also pointing to a provision in the referendum that provides specific oversight responsibilities on how revenue is spent. The referendum — No. 2 on the Hillsborough ballot — requires an independent oversight committee with 13 members who ensure money is spent in accordance with the referendum by conducting annual audits.

The members cannot be elected officials or earn or otherwise receive direct or indirect compensation from any of the agencies allocating resources. That includes the three cities in Hillsborough County and the county as well as HART.

All For Transportation has widespread backing from bipartisan groups included the Greater Tampa, South Tampa and Upper Tampa Bay chambers of commerce, Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay Times.

But opposition is out there. The Florida chapter of Americans For Prosperity launched an ad last week that blasts the referendum as an unnecessary tax hike.

However, other than AFP, there is no local organized opposition to the transportation initiative.

No Tax For Tracks, the committee registered with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections that fought the 2010 referendum, has not raised funds. Meanwhile, All For Transportation has raised more than $2 million.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

6 Comments

  1. 1) Janelle, NoTaxForTracks.com filed on Friday Oct 5 and isn’t required to file it’s first campaign report for until Oct 12. Then it would be just for receipts collected on Oct 5. It is false to say that we have not raised any funds, we did so on day 1.
    2) Good journalism includes a rebuttal from the organized opposition. Neither NoTaxForTracks.com nor Americans For Prosperity-both of whom oppose the tax hike-were quoted for this article.
    3) It is FALSE that 20% of the tax revenue will go to new roads or widen existing. In fact all revenue collected is expressly forbidden to go to New Auto Capacity. If you’re curious about the truth, call me and I’ll explain.

  2. Obviously Irwin stopped reading the charter amendment after the few misleading words on the ballot summary. She has not read the entire 5 pages of the charter amendment. There is NO funding in the $16 Billion tax hike charter amendment and that was intentional. The only language in the charter amendment about adding lane capacity is to PROHIBIT funding new road capacity. Irwin’s math is way way off. It actually is estimated to raise $300 million in the FIRST year. There are 700K moving to Hillsborough over 30 years. In addition the largest number of commuters into Hillsborough is from Pasco and they spend in Hillsborough everyday. The MPO uses a 4% growth rate over 20 years so this 14% sales tax increase will generate at a minimum $16 BILLION dollars over 30 years. This puff piece makes it look like Irwin was hired to cheerlead for the tax hike. Regurgitating talking points from one side is not journalism. Professional journalists covers both sides – not Janelle. Shameful!

    1. ZERO funding in $16 BILLION tax hike for new road capacity for 30 years. Can never relieve congestion in Hillsborough County without adding new roads and widening existing roads.

  3. From the mouth of All for Transportation’s own 5 pages of charter amendment regulations – in their own words: http://www.eyeontampabay.com/2018/10/all-for-transportation-will-increase.html
    Check out the MPO’s 2040 long range transportation plan All for Transportation says their $16 Billion tax hike is funding…. Heh!
    The transit advocates who wrote this 30 year transit tax boondoggle can run but they can’t hide! Reality vs Rhetoric. #CongestionCreationTax

  4. Wow. This should be embarrassing for Janelle Irwin and Florida Politics. First of all, the 20 percent is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the amendment. When they micromanaged the exact percentage for 9 different categories, there NO CATEGORY for road widening. In fact, citing directly from the amendment:

    11.07(8) Limits on New Automobile Lane Capacity. Agencies are prohibited from expending any funds from the categories mandated by Section 11.07(1), (2) and (3) above on New Automobile Lane Capacity. For purposes of this Section 11.07(8), “New Automobile Lane Capacity” means projects that consist of (i) adding additional lanes for automobile traffic to existing roads or streets that are not related to intersection capacity improvement, or (ii) constructing new roads or streets.

    Explicitly forbids new lane capacity or constructing new roads or streets, from the only sections in the amendment that deal with roads.

    “The referendum would use about 20 percent of the $280 million raised each year to pay for all of the road widening and new road projects” is a lie. THERE IS NO ROAD WIDENING IN THE AMENDMENT.

    Read the amendment!

  5. It’s a Rail tax. It’s a $16 Billion rail tax that prohibits funding of new roads and new road capacity – for 30 years. It’s worse than the defeated 2010 rail tax. A handful of wealthy special interests are funding this tax that will greatly benefit them because it takes millions to deceive the public and voters. Telling the truth is easy – deception is expensive.

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