Hillsborough Commissioner Sharpe: HART needs to change
TAMPA -- Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority management need to change their view their buses are only for poor people and "retool" the agency into "something dramatically different," County Commissioner Mark Sharpe said Wednesday in an open letter.
Sharpe, who also serves on the HART board, has been vocal about his belief the agency needs to take the lead in expanded transit options for Hillsborough residents. Present HART management, Sharpe wrote in the letter has been "resistant to thinking beyond compliance with regulations."
"The prevailing management view is that public transit exists primarily to serve the economically disadvantaged. I fundamentally disagree," Sharpe wrote.
Sharpe sent the letter to other board members Wednesday after one of his fellow board members, Fran Davin, told Sharpe earlier in the week he was being too critical of HART, Sharpe said.
Sharpe said he hoped the letter reinforced his message that HART needs to change, a message he hopes is embraced by whoever takes over the agency. HART CEO Philip Hale is stepping down at the end of April. HART COO Katharine Eagan will serve as interim CEO until the board selects a new boss.
"We should have a transformative leader," Sharpe said. "I'm not looking for someone who just wants to manage the agency as is."