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Tampa Bay Young Republicans discuss Hillsborough County transportation plans

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Earlier this week the Hillsborough County Young Democrats announced that they want more transit put into the mix of projects for Go Hillsborough, the transportation sales tax plan that may go before voters this fall. They that say any proposal should allocate at least 65 percent of taxpayer money into mass transit projects, and are disappointed that’s not part of the plan.

SaintPetersBlog reached out to the Tampa Bay Young Republicans to ask their views on Go Hillsborough.

“I would like to applaud the Hillsborough County Young Democrats for their statements regarding transit in our region,” says Janine Kiray, president of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans in a statement sent to SPB.

“This has been a topic that the Tampa Bay Young Republicans have been actively involved in. Whether it be relating to ride-sharing and innovative systems such as Uber, or discussions with respect to mass transit and the Go Hillsborough Plan, since 2013 we have been actively seeking transportation options for our Tampanians and visitors.”

“Rather than raising taxes or allocating more than 65% of the 1/2 cent purposed tax increase, city officials need to create and approve a plan that will ‘fix’ and improve Tampa’s current infrastructural problems and bus system before moving on and creating more ‘fixes,’ which could create a larger, more congested broken road later on,” said Holly Holobyn, vice president of the Young Republicans.

TBYR Member and law student Justin Homburg is disdainful of the Young Democrats position. “They would rather use tax dollars to engineer a societal change rather than investing in our roads,” he says, adding, “President Obama often likes to talk about fixing ‘roads and bridges’ but when we try to do that, the money is often robbed and put into boondoggle projects rather than repairs.”

Not every member of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans disagrees with the Young Democrats on wanting more transit to be part of the Go Hillsborough mix.

“Mass transit will increase the economic development opportunities for our beautiful city of Tampa,” says TBYR executive director Allie McGown. “We have so many drivers in our city who are not carpooling and are commuting for unhealthy lengths of time. Regardless of the final decision, we will need to take a leap of faith to position Tampa as a major player in the game of tourism and innovation.”

The Tampa Bay Young Republicans has over 100 members, some of whom serve on transportation boards and who have rallied for various transportation initiatives in the County Commission chambers and in Tallahassee.

The Hillsborough County Commission is scheduled to discuss the Go Hillsborough proposal next month.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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