Hillsborough transit board votes to oppose legislative study about possible merger with PSTA

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During its regular meeting on Monday, the HART Board adopted a resolution “to strongly oppose Florida Senate Bill 1866 and House Bill 1399, and their requirement for HART and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) to pay $100,000 of local tax money to TBARTA to facilitate a study that predetermines consolidation of the two agencies.”
Last Friday, Rep. Jeff Brandes offered a substitute amendment to a bill (HB 1399) that would back a study analyzing the pros and cons of merging the transit agencies of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
“Considering such a consolidation could impact the taxing structures of each agency, potentially hurt transit service and increase operating costs,” a press release reads, the HART Boardt “is also concerned about the lack of a deliberative process that incorporates input from customers and taxpayers.”

In the HART Legislative Policy Statement, approved Nov. 7, 2011, prior to the start of the Florida Legislative Session, the HART Board emphasized a transparent and deliberative process for consolidation/mergers, an independent study paid on the issue for by the State of Florida, and opposition to state-imposed transportation mandates.

HART and PSTA already partner on various collaborative efforts, including procurement consortiums, such as for fuel purchases, and each operate cross-county bus routes to maintain transit connectivity between the two counties.

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.