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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa's hope to hold city-only transit referendum dies in the Legislature

It was a long shot from the start, and now Tampa's hope to hold its own transit tax referendum is dead for the year.

The proposal was a top legislative priority for Tampa, where Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants his own shot at passing the kind of transit tax proposal that three years ago failed county-wide while winning precincts inside the city.

"It just never saw the light of day," Buckhorn said. "It's unfortunate, because that really could have given us an opportunity to jump-start this process."

But while the city's hopes languished in Tallahassee, Buckhorn is optimistic about Tampa's prospects in Washington.

For one thing, although Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion for high-speed rail from Tampa to Orlando, Buckhorn said he believes the Obama administration hasn't given up on mass transit in Florida.

U.S. Transportation "Secretary (Ray) LaHood asked me the other day when he was down here," Buckhorn said. "I think they are still very interested in participating and helping in some type of mass transit here in Florida. We just have to find, literally and figuratively, the vehicle to do it, and that's a perfect TIGER grant application."

To learn more about TIGER grants and the other reasons Buckhorn feels optimistic, click here.

[Last modified: Friday, May 3, 2013 2:55pm]


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