HART asks Gov. Scott to veto bill requiring merger study

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The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority wants Gov. Rick Scott to veto a state transportation bill that includes a requirement that HART and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority boards identify opportunities to merge, reports Ted Jackovics.

HART board members voted Monday to adopt a resolution that stated their opposition to House Bill 599, which was passed in the final hours of the legislative session last month.

Board members said a veto might be a long shot since Scott would have to veto the entire bill that contains statewide measures involving other transportation and mitigation issues.

Still, the board wants to make known its opposition to merger planning launched by state Sen. Jack Latvala, a St. Petersburg Republican, and a requirement to pay the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority up to $100,000 to participate in a consolidation study.

“We want to throw this under the bus, so to speak,” said Sandy Murman, HART board member and Hillsborough County commissioner.

Neither transit board is interested in combining operations or decision-making at the top, although the two systems share routes and participate in equipment and fuel purchasing pools.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.