The Pasco County Commission has decided to stall a decision on whether to provide funding for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, until at least January.
The board took that action at its Sept. 20 meeting.
Cathy Pearson, an assistant county administrator, told the board: “We’re presenting a recommendation that we delay this until January. The total fee for this would be $95,521.”
“There’s been a little bit of challenges with the TBARTA board, we’ll put it that way,” Pearson said.
The regional transit authority’s purpose is to plan, develop, fund, implement and operate a regional transit system to serve Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties.
Finding a regional planning solution is becoming increasingly important, as the region continues to grow and it lacks an easy way for people to get around.
Efforts to create a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network that would carry commuters through the region have been stymied because there’s a lack of agreement by the counties about the plan.
Hillsborough County essentially sits in the middle of the five-county region. But it has raised objections to plans to route a BRT through Hillsborough, using lanes within the existing right of way on Interstate 275.
There’s also been discussion lately regarding whether TBARTA should become part of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
At this point, though, it is unclear what direction the regional transit agency will go.
The Pasco County board wants more information before allocating funds for TBARTA.
Commission Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey said: “As your TBARTA member, I’m in support that we kind of wait and see what happens, after November and into January.”
She’s made previous reports to the board indicating that Hillsborough County doesn’t appear to want to be part of the regional planning efforts.
“Talk about frustration. If you don’t have a player in the middle, things fall apart,” she said, during the county board’s Sept. 20 meeting.
Commissioner Mike Moore added: “I have a sneaky suspicion that TBARTA will be going bye-bye by our legislators come next session. I would probably put a wager on that.”
Starkey interjected: “Stay tuned for another direction, in a different way. That’s all I can say.”
Moore made a motion to continue the vote on the proposed payment until January.
“The last thing we want is our money sitting there and getting gobbled up because how do you get it back, once you give it?” Moore said.
Published October 05, 2022
They should NOT be funding it at all TBARTA is a HUGE money pit.