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Vehicles fill the highway in Los Angeles, California, Friday, May 25, 2007. Photographer: Jamie Rector/Bloomberg News.

Tampa Bay

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce endorses Hillsborough transit tax plan

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that it is in favor of the referendum to add a one-cent sales tax to fund transportation initiatives in Hillsborough County.

The referendum, backed by “All for Transportation,” made the 2018 ballot last month through the citizen’s charter amendment process. It would bring in an estimated $280 million per year to fund transportation initiatives in the county.

“The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to support this important referendum because it gives our community the right to decide to invest in our transportation future. We are supportive of efforts to expand local private and public revenue sources dedicated to transportation and expanding transit services and options for Tampa Bay,” said Bob Rohrlack, president and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Tampa Chamber joins one of its partners, the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, which voted in favor of supporting the referendum earlier this week.

“The South Tampa Chamber supports the All for Transportation referendum because we believe that this is the best proposal to date to provide much needed, long-term funding for multimodal transportation options, including expanding our county bus system, but also providing opportunities to increase the safety of streets in our neighborhoods,” said Kelly Flannery, president and CEO of the South Tampa Chamber.

The nod from the two Chambers follow an endorsement from Tampa Downtown Partnership, a non-profit group that administers a special services district aimed at bettering Tampa’s downtown.

All for Transportation launched a frantic push early last month to make the November ballot via the citizen’s charter amendment process.

The initiative has been heavily supported by Water Street Tampa developer and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik as well as businessman and philanthropist Frank Morsani, both of whom pitched in $150,000 to jump-start the eleventh-hour petition drive.

If approved by voters, the tax would go into effect in 2019 and last for 30 years. Hillsborough Area Regional Transit would get 45 percent of the funds by the tax to use on improving mass transit. The other 55 percent would be split up between the county and local governments for road maintenance and projects tackling traffic congestion.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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