TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Hillsborough County judge ruled Monday that voters will not be able to decide on a transportation tax referendum.
The county said the tax would raise $340 million a year for road improvements and improvements to public transportation. The attorney for people opposed to the tax said the wording on the ballot was misleading.
“The County chose ballot language that led voters to think they were voting for things like new and wider roads in places like Brandon and Tampa. Unfortunately, it didn’t choose that language because it is true. The county chose it because the county wanted people to vote for the tax and this language polled well. Voters have the legal right to fair and honest treatment. The County’s ballot language instead misled them about what their vote does and does not do,” said Attorney Sam Salario, Jr. In a statement.
County Commission Chair Kimberly Overman is calling for a special meeting on Thursday at 5 p.m. to decide if the county will appeal the decision.
Overman says delaying the tax and planned projects is increasing the cost of the projects.
“We’ve already had a four-year delay, that’s the sad part about this. Voters voted to pass this in 2018. It may have cost us as much as a million dollars a year since we were not able to start investing in the early part of 2019,” Overman said.
The Commission Chairman says delaying the tax is only delaying much-needed road improvements.
“The attempts to stop the voters from voting on this issue only continues to delay the critical transportation needs of this county,” Overman added. “We cannot afford to wait another two years to find relief for those who need these transportation improvements the most. We cannot continue with the status quo. We have no choice but to move forward and I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that Hillsborough County voters have the opportunity to decide whether to fund transportation improvements.”