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Hillsborough County commissioners discuss transportation needs, vote on phosphogypsum use

Hillsborough County leaders discussed what’s next when it comes to planning and paying for the area's transposition needs.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — During a commission meeting on Wednesday, Hillsborough County leaders discussed what’s next when it comes to planning and paying for the county's transposition needs since the transit tax was deemed unconstitutional in February. 

While the courts still work on a plan to return a half-billion dollars in taxes collected, commissioners voted to hold at least four local workshops later this year aimed at gaining public support for a 1 percent transportation surtax. The public, they agreed, needs to understand why funding the projects is critical.

"And how we need those funds when it comes to helping run our county when it comes to our infrastructure projects," said Commissioner Gwen Myers.

During that same meeting, Hillsborough commissioners also voted to ban the use of phosphogypsum in any county road construction. 

RELATED: Hillsborough County allows face mask rules to end, in compliance with DeSantis' order

In October, after several decades, the EPA cleared the material that makes up those huge gypsum stacks like the ones seen in our region - for use in pavement and road products. 

But critics and environmentalists have been concerned about the possibility of pollution that could be caused by runoff from roadways built using the material.

"I just don’t want to take away from us an opportunity to rid ourselves of this material if this is something that really is a viable use," Commissioner Harry Cohen cautioned.

"I think I would rather be prudent with the concerns we have and an active policy now," said Commissioner Ken Hagan. "If science changes, we can always change the policy."

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