HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - A group pushing a transportation tax referendum in Hillsborough County says it has collected enough signatures to get the question put on November's ballot.
"All for Transportation" told Florida Politics it has more than 70,000 signatures, about 20,000 more than they needed by today's deadline. The signatures still need to be validated by the supervisor of elections.
For the last month and a half, advocates for the referendum have been intensifying their push for a one-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase for 30 years.
The tax would generate $280 million in its first year. That's money that would support transportation improvements across Hillsborough County. It could also free up money for other large county projects.
Grassroots efforts to improve transportation have gained traction after county leaders voted down a similar half-cent tax hike in 2016. Back then, transportation officials said it would take at least $150 million a year to keep the roads you rely on in good shape. A similar effort was shot down by Hillsborough voters in 2010 as well.
But, when the county didn't take action, supporters of the tax decided to bypass the decision-makers and take the vote straight to the people.
The transportation tax is controversial not just among Hillsborough's conservative base, but also among some progressives, who are concerned a fall tax referendum could derail the school district's plan to ask voters next spring for a sales tax increase to fund education in the county.
There are also questions over the legality of the proposed transportation referendum, since it wasn't reviewed by state legislative staff yet. Some interpret state law as to require the study before any tax issue can be put before voters.
10News will continue to track the developments of this heated issue.
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