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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

PSTA authorizes more spending on Greenlight Campaign

11

June

Pinellas County's transit agency is planning to drop another $95,000 on its public awareness campaign for expanded bus service and light rail.

Called Greenlight Pinellas, the campaign was designed by Tampa-based public relations firm Tucker Hall for $300,000, and is just beginning to get off the ground. The campaign's website is live and is selling everything from Greenlight t-shirts to iPhone cases.

But the three public input committees for government, civic, and business leaders haven't begun meeting yet and there's little public visibility for the campaign. Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority CEO Brad Miller wrote in an agenda item to the agency's board that Tucker Hall has completed the "original scope of work," in its contract.

There's more to be done, he said, such as building out the website to include a "performance monitoring dashboard system" and overseeing the "outreach process" that's supposed to last through the fall.

To pay for this, Miller has authorized a $95,000 contract extension.

After the campaign over, the Pinellas County Commission will likely take a final vote to place the transit tax referendum on the November 2014 ballot, and approve ballot language. At that point, many expect a private group will take over the campaign, funding it themselves and giving it a decidedly pro-referendum position.

Critics of the campaign, many of whom oppose a sales tax increase to pay for light rail, say Greenlight is little more than a publicly funded attempt to convince voters to support the referendum. In February, Tom Rask, a Seminole resident who has filed to run for the District 6 seat on the County Commission, sued the agency over the campaign.

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:57am]

    

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