Hillsborough’s transportation money still sits idle | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Friday’s letters to the editor.
Riders gather at a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority bus stop at the University Area Transit Center.
Riders gather at a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority bus stop at the University Area Transit Center.
Published Oct. 8

Do-nothing dollars

Hillsborough transportation surtax

It has now been more than seven months since the Florida Supreme Court found that the 1% transportation tax authorized by Hillsborough County voters in 2018 was illegal. The court held the tax to be illegal because the allocation of its proceeds had been specified in the ballot initiative itself, a power the court said belonged to the County Commission.

For reasons best known to the commissioners, instead of claiming the more than $500 million that had been collected over the previous 26 months and allocating its use as they deemed appropriate, the commissioners voted to return the money to the taxpayers. As may be imagined, devising a formula that would refund this jackpot to the taxpayers on an equitable basis has proven to be a task that would have challenged the legendary wisdom of King Solomon.

And so, at a time when the commission faces a serious shortfall in the resources needed to address Hillsborough County’s many transportation needs, more than a half-billion dollars that the voters had destined precisely for that purpose remains scandalously and embarrassingly idle.

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

Mr. Fix-it

Biden pushes trillion-dollar spending bills for ‘a rising America’

I watched President Joe Biden’s speech Tuesday in Michigan. He said that when implemented, his plan would stop flooding in Michigan, stop wildfires out west and end the drought in California. Wow, I thought, that’s great! Can’t wait for that to happen. I just wish he would have added that his plan would stop hurricanes. Maybe next year.

James Molloy, Pinellas Park

Mere incompetence?

State overpaid benefits | Oct. 7

Once again, almost weekly, we learn of another disastrously bad state-run program intended to aid Floridians. Educational dollars available that our state did not ask for, billions. Housing aid available, billions just sitting. Unemployment, billions unaccounted for, but if you got some, they want it back. One has to wonder if this pattern is mere incompetence or intentional cruelty? I certainly have an opinion. Yet millions of Floridians blindly ignore such failures and sit firmly on the Republican “anti-socialist” bus.

Pat Ward, St. Petersburg