Hillsborough County leaders to decide how transportation tax money will be used

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – (WFLA) – Hillsborough County commissioners are set to decide Wednesday exactly how millions of dollars generated from the transportation sales tax will be used but some of the money could be moved.

Voters already approved the 1% sales tax increase to fix roads and Wednesday’s decision could affect future improvements in Hillsborough County communities.

More than $100 million of revenue will come in every year from the sales tax for transportation projects.

County administrator Mike Merrill will ask to use $30 million to pay for projects normally covered under property taxes. 

Merrill will present the information in his 2020 budget Monday. 

Merrill wants to use some of the transportation sales tax money on improving fire stations, code enforcement and law enforcement staffing and affordable house initiatives. 

Merrill said the change would help the county reduce a service backlog and catch up to a growing demand for service. 

Ultimately, county commissioners will have to approve the budget. 

The All for Transportation group helped get the transportation tax passed.

Members believe the proposal to move money away from road projects goes against what voters approved. 

Revenue from the tax will cover upgrades to public transit, sidewalks, trails roads and intersections across the county. 

A judge left it to commissioners to decide how the money should be used after a lawsuit held up the process for several months.

There’s expected to be another large turnout at the commission meeting Wednesday with a lot of public comments. 

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