Kevin Beckner raises questions about light rail costs
In a surprising move, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner raised questions today about the cost of light rail at a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit board meeting. The questions came after hearing preliminary results of a study that recommended light rail over bus rapid transit, even though it will cost $1.5 billion more to build it. Beckner said he wants assurances that the economic development surrounding rail lines and stations will make up for the higher cost of construction. Despite the questions, the HART board voted unanimously to support spending money on light rail. Beckner said he wanted to make sure the vote didn't mean the county was locked into light rail if it turns out bus rapid transit makes more sense. Beckner said his inquiries shouldn't dissaude people from voting for a 1 cent sales tax to pay for transportation improvements in the county that would include road improvement, expanded bus service, and light rail. "Whatever mode of transportation we decide go with, I think it's going to be an enhancement for the community," he said. Read more about it here.