ST. PETERSBURG — The board of directors for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority on Wednesday gave unanimous approval to a pact meant to prevent the board from levying a property tax if the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum passes this fall.
The agreement between PSTA and the county includes safeguards designed to ensure revenue from the one-cent sales tax increase, if approved by voters on Nov. 4, would only be used to expand bus service and build a 24-mile light rail line between St. Petersburg and Clearwater. The sales tax revenue would replace PSTA's current property tax revenue, and the agreement gives the county the power to ask voters to reduce or eliminate the Greenlight sales tax if PSTA uses its property tax power.
The county could also hold back transit tax revenue or ask voters to reduce or eliminate the Greenlight tax if the system is built and officials determine revenue can be reduced; if the PSTA board votes not to proceed with the plan; or if PSTA defaults on its debt or misapplies the funds. The County Commission approved the agreement earlier this month.
The entire project, including the bus and rail components, is expected to cost $2.2 billion to build and $130 million annually to operate.