Transportation tax ad ruffles feathers
Seminole Heights resident Susan Long said she was all "gung ho" to vote for the 1 cent sales tax to pay for Hillsborough County transportation improvement, including light rail, until she got a flier promoting the tax in the mail. It shows light rail headed from downtown to the University of South Florida through East Tampa streets along existing CSX tracks. There's no mention of a possible route along Interstate 275, which is Long's preference and supposedly under consideration by transit officials.
"I want it to go in Seminole Heights," Long said. She said she's afraid the campaign piece is a true reflection of where the lines will go. "It makes me uncomfortable to vote for it. But will I vote against it? I haven't made up my mind," she said.
Leaders of Moving Hillsborough Forward, the nonprofit created to promote the tax, will meet at 7 p.m. today at Hillsborough High School with people from Seminole Heights. "A lot of people have a lot of questions," Long said. Those questions include details about the greater costs of using the CSX route and also why a decision on the routes won't be made before the Nov. 2 election.
When asked about the single route shown in the campaign piece, Moving Hillsborough Forward spokeswoman Margie Martin said: "This isn't meant to depict one route over another. The graphic simply illustrates a transit corridor for the north-south alignment that is included in the alternatives analysis study area. This is the same proposed transit corridor map for light rail that's been used in hundreds of community meetings since the beginning of this process."