Wednesday, November 21, 2018
  • Bay Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Boosted by more donations from Jeff Vinik, transportation group raises almost $4 million

TAMPA – Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and philanthropist Frank Morsani have given yet more money to All for Transportation, nudging the group's total campaign contributions to almost $4 million.

The citizens group, which is campaigning for the penny on the dollar sales tax for road, bus and transit improvements, reported raising another $850,000 in a two week period ending Nov. 1.

That included a $100,000 donation from Vinik, who between personal donations and contributions from companies he is associated with, has given $700,000 to All for Transportation.

Morsani, a former car dealership owner, gave $100,000, raising his overall contribution to $250,000.

The support for All for Transportation reflects the urgency of the business community for Hillsborough to address its transportation woes. Support has come from developers, hospital and healthcare chains, the region's professional sports franchises and utility companies among others.

The group's $3.9 million haul dwarfs the $1 million raised for the Greenlight Pinellas campaign in 2014 and the $1.5 million raised for the 2010 Moving Hillsborough Forward referendum.

Joining Vinik and Morsani in making multiple donations are the Tampa Bay Partnership business group and Coastal Construction Services, a South Florida development firm owned by the family of former Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Patrick Murphy. Each donated $100,000 in the latest fundraising cycle, and have both now given $250,000.

New donors in the latest campaign report include the Amalie Oil Company, which gave $30,000, and technology firm Vology, which donated $25,000.

Notaxfortracks.com, the group campaigning against the sales tax, has raised almost $135,000.

That compares to the $23,000 it raised in 2010.

More than 90 percent of their money has come from two sources.

East Hillsborough republican activist and businessman Sam Rashid

Sam Rashid, a Republican businessman and political activist, has given $70,000.

And Social Justice PAC, a Tallahassee political action committee registered to L. Mclnnis, has given the group $50,000, records show.

The sales tax would raise about $276 million per year. Most of the money –  54 percent – would be spent on roads, trails and sidewalks. The county's bus agency would receive 45 percent of the tax to expand bus service and plan and build some form of mass-transit linking the University area, downtown Tampa and Westshore.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.

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