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More traffic: Hillsborough County’s projected 30-year growth could fill Bucs games for more than a season

More than 700,000 people are expected to move to Hillsborough County by 2045, according to the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s estimates. That’s a 52 percent increase to the county’s current 1.35 million population. An increase in residents means an increase in traffic.

The campaign backing Hillsborough County Referendum No. 2 on the November 6 ballot is pushing that number as a way to gain support for the proposed 1 percent sales tax increase to fund transportation and transit projects.

“Residents can vote yes on Hillsborough County Charter Referendum No. 2 to fund improved intersections, make our roads safer, reduce traffic congestion and be prepared for the continued population growth. Doing nothing will just lead to more gridlock,” said All For Transportation campaign member Brian Willis. “We know that Hillsborough County already has a $9 billion backlog in transportation projects. That backlog means our roads have more potholes, more accidents, and more traffic. And, when I am stuck in traffic after work, that means less time at home with my daughter.”

The campaign wants residents to put the population growth into perspective.

Adding 713,000 to Hillsborough’s population is roughly the same as adding all of Miami and Orlando’s residents. The two cities have populations of 453,579 and 277,173, respectively, according to U.S. Census data.

It’s double the population of Tampa, which currently has 377,165 residents. It’s 28 more Temple Terraces and 18 more Plant Cities.

That population growth could fill Amalie Arena 34 times. It could fill the stands of Raymond James Stadium for all eight Tampa Bay Buccaneers home games and still have enough people left over to populate three more games.

“We have transportation plans ready to go in every community that just need funding. So, the bottom line for Hillsborough voters is this: We do nothing and face more delays, accidents, and lost time or we vote Yes to Hillsborough County Referendum No. 2 and keep things moving,” Willis said.

The All For Transportation plan would impose a one-cent sales tax to fund transportation initiatives in Hillsborough County. It is estimated that tax will raise $230 million a year for 30 years totaling about $9 billion. The plan calls for 45 percent of the revenue to go to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority for enhancements to the agency’s existing bus service as well as to fund new transit.

Most of the rest of the funding, less 1 percent is for oversight, would go to the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City as well as Hillsborough County for use on road projects like resurfacing, traffic mitigation, pedestrian and bike paths, safety and pothole repairs. 

Read more about All For Transportation here.

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 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.

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