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All For Transportation members attract major transit conference to Tampa. Photo: All For Transportation

Tampa Bay

Tampa Downtown Partnership recognizes All For Transportation for urban excellence

The award comes exactly one year after voters approved the tax.

Wednesday marked exactly one year since voters overwhelmingly approved the All For Transportation referendum, saying yes to a 1 percent sales tax to fund sweeping improvements to transportation and transit throughout Hillsborough County.

On that same anniversary, the group was awarded for its dedication.

All For Transportation won the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s 2019 Urban Excellence Award in the private sector category.

The award recognizes “a private sector project that has made a positive and significant contribution to downtown,” according to the Partnership’s awards announcement. It also recognizes a commitment to revitalizing downtown.

“One year ago today, over 282,000 voters stood up and voted Yes for Safer Streets, Faster Commutes and a better quality of life. Hillsborough County decided to say Yes for Transportation,” the group wrote on Facebook Wednesday night. “Since that day, that vote has led to the coordinated investment in transportation in all corners of Hillsborough County.”

“Thanks to the voters who decided the status quo was no longer acceptable, Hillsborough County took the first step in transforming our all neighborhoods for the better. And we’re still thankful for the voters who said YES to #FixTransportationNow.”

The award recognizes the group for their efforts to get the tax passed and begin the long process of overhauling and improving Hillsborough County’s long-neglected transportation network.

But All For Transportation members’ jobs didn’t stop at the ballot box. A lawsuit that has made its way all the way to the Florida Supreme Court means the team is still hard at work defending the tax.

Two cases, on filed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White and another by resident Bob Emerson, seek to strike the tax down in its entirety arguing the portions of the tax removed by a lower court, most notably the funding allocations over how the tax can be spent, mean the tax is no longer what voters approved.

All For Transportation’s legal team argues that’s not the case. They first argue the funding allocations stricken down by Hillsborough Judge Rex Barbas should be reinstated. But even if they aren’t voter intent was simply to approve a 30-year tax to fund transportation improvements in Hillsborough County, a point on which Barbas agreed.

Still, as long as the case is looming, Hillsborough County residents must wait to see any benefits from the tax even as they are still paying it.

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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