Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas mass rail transit plan gets stalled over tax

ST. PETERSBURG — Divisions over a sales tax for a billion-dollar light rail system likely have sidetracked the proposal until September.

A Pinellas County panel drawing up plans to ask voters to raise the tax 1 percent in 2010 splintered over its details Tuesday.

"It's only a year and a half away," said Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers, a member of the group of local government and business officials. "That's kind of scary. I really don't see how we're going to pull it all together."

County Commissioner Ken Welch and other officials had hoped the panel would round out a proposal Tuesday. It would match a similar tax increase effort for 2010 in Hillsborough County.

Instead, the meeting highlighted disagreements.

For example, Welch and St. Petersburg City Council member Herb Polson suggested eliminating the property taxes for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority so a sales tax hike would be easier for voters to swallow.

One problem for other members: Transit officials estimate the property taxes still could be needed to pay the $6.5 billion to $10 billion cost of building rail and doubling bus service, then running it over two decades.

So the transit authority will spend $30,000 to $40,000 to bounce ideas off focus groups and poll residents this summer, leading to a September "summit." That's where a campaign to support the sales tax increase in Pinellas could begin — or end.

Pinellas mass rail transit plan gets stalled over tax 05/11/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.