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Majority emerges to put Pinellas rail on ballot

Despite skepticism in some quarters on its chances, a majority of Pinellas County Commissioners have lined up behind a ballot measure in 2013 or 2014 for a sales tax to pay for rail and more buses.

Commissioner Neil Brickfield said Monday he will support it, joining Commissioners Ken Welch, Susan Latvala and Norm Roche (who opposes rail but not a referendum).

"There's a lot of stops along the way. It's out in the community and we're looking. ... If its fully formed, I'm voing to vote for it to be on the ballot," said Brickfield, a Republican up for re-election this year.

"This is a long term, expensive investment that could possibly change the development in the county."

But it's too early to say when the ballot measure will appear, Brickfield said. The push for a 2013 vote is driving by the financial needs of Pinellas Suncoast Transity Authority, whose property tax revenue has fallen. Meanwhile, Brickfield said transit supporters need to nail down their facts to avoid the questions that doomed a 2010 referendum.

"If we put it there, and there are items of doubt, that will put a shadow over it," Brickfield said.

Posted by David DeCamp at 4:55:26 pm on January 30, 2012