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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Anti-tax group blasts free bus rides on election day



Opponents of a proposed 1 cent sales tax to pay for expanded bus service and rail are trashing the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit authority for offering free rides on election day. "Given that there's a referendum that's going to benefit HART, it's probably not a wise thing to do, especially since they've never done it in the past," said Karen Jaroch, a founder of, a group created to fight the sales tax. "It gives the appearance of electioneering." Doug Guetzloe, chairman of the Orlando-based Ax the Tax, calls it a "blatant attempt" to win support for the referendum.

HART officials say although it's the first time they've offered free rides on election day, it's one of many promotions launched this year to boost interest in the bus system. Curtis Stokes, a Tampa City Council member who serves on the HART board, said he took the concept to the agency at the request of the Miami Lakes-based Florida African American and Caribeean Empowerment Alliance. "It's just to increase the number of people who will go out and vote, who traditionally don't have rides, to use the resources of HART to go out and vote," Stokes said. "I don't care what they vote for. We just need people to vote." Read more about it here.


[Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 2:02pm]


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