Greenlight Pinellas campaign banks another $31.5K in June

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Friends of Greenlight, the independent political committee supporting the Greenlight Pinellas Transit Plan, posted more than $31,500 in contributions from June 1-20, according to newly filed financial reports.

The PAC raised $31,580 last month, spending $21,116. The organization has now $562,540 to date and spent $66,912.

The largest donation coming in the first three weeks of June was a $25,000 check from New York-based Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., one of the world’s leading infrastructure engineering and design firms. Parsons Brinckerhoff is listed as the owner’s representative and provided construction support for the nearly completed Port of Miami Tunnel.

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority CEO Brad Miller donated $1,000.

Also contributing $1,000 each: Engineering firm Rummel Klepper & Kahl (RK&K) from Baltimore; David Thomas Jr. of Dunedin; and Craig Sher, Executive Chair of The Sembler Company.

Friends of Greenlight PAC is the political organization created to encourage voters to approve the Greenlight Pinellas initiative on the November ballot, a one-cent sales tax which will go to expand public transit options countywide. The new Pinellas sales tax will then jump from seven to eight percent —making it the highest in Florida — replacing the current ad valorem property transit tax.

If approved, Greenlight Pinellas will boost the PSTA operating budget to $130 million, and will be used to expand bus nearly 65 percent. Greenlight Pinellas also proposes changes such as express bus lanes as well as a grid system for improved wait times.

Supporters say the improvements will have riders waiting no longer than 15 minutes for a bus.

The most controversial part of the plan is the proposed construction of a 24-mile light rail corridor between St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beach.

No Tax for Tracks, the lead opponents of the Greenlight Pinellas Plan, raised $105 in the same June period, for a total of $ 31,656.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.