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Pinellas inches toward rail referendum | Transportation

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Pinellas inches toward rail referendum
Pinellas inches toward rail referendum

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida - After a proposed one-cent sales tax for transportation improvements was rejected by voters in Hillsborough County, leaders across the bay want to ask the same question of their residents.

The Pinellas County Transportation Task Force (TTF), a coalition of business and elected leaders, voted Monday afternoon to recommend a one-cent sales tax for light rail, additional bus lines, and road improvements. 

Previous Coverage:
11/15/10: Hillsborough, Pinellas each debate light rail again
11/2/10:  Hillsborough voters reject transit tax
10/18/10: Tampa light rail routes, stops proposed to HART
10/13/10: Light rail ads face The Truth Test
10/12/10: What did light rail really cost Phoenix?
10/11/10: Tampa's light rail could resemble Phoenix project   The TTF also decided to communicate with their counterparts in Hillsborough Co. and Pasco Co. with hopes of bringing the referendum to ballots at the same time.   The group is of the belief that a coordinated effort would better-educate voters on the issue and stress the importance of funding transit improvements before its too late.   Each county involved would have its own individual referendum; a multi-county tax would require help from the state legislature.  But the TTF is aiming to put the question on ballots sometime between Spring 2012 and Spring 2013.

The TTF merely makes recommendations to the Pinellas Co. Board of County Commissioners, but commissioners were in attendance on Monday.  The county's long-term plan includes a 26-mile light rail line that runs from Clearwater to St. Petersburg, but most leaders from both Pinellas and Hillsborough acknowledge there are designs to eventually connect the two counties by rail once the Howard Frankland Bridge is replaced.

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