TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners voted 6-1 on Monday to approve a $600 million transportation plan that would fund projects in the area over the next 10 years.
The plan will only begin to fix a few of the many problems the area is facing when it comes to getting around Tampa Bay.
Commission chair Les Miles said the county does not currently have the funds to support the transportation needs of the additional 32,000 residents that move into the area each year. He said the area needs close to $13 billion to solve its transportation woes, but passing the $600 million plan will be a fair start.
The money will go toward several categories of improvement, including maintenance, safety and congestion relief. Miles said taxpayers can expect to see roads widened and resurfaced, as well as better intersections and sidewalks.
Critics of the plan call the proposal deficient because it includes no funding for mass transit. Michelle Cookson, of the advocacy group Sunshine citizens, said the vote feels rushed, especially since it’s happening right before an election by commissioners who might or might not be around to see the plans through.
Cookson also criticized commissioners for lack of transparency regarding which projects are being pushed.
Miles said there was money included for mass transit in the Go Hillsborough plan, which would have provided revenue from a half cent sales tax, but that plan was rejected.