Pandemic, Plummeting Transit Ridership and the Rail Tax Saga
May 7, 2020
The city of Tampa, with a population less than a third of the county of approximately 400K, is the densest part of Hillsborough County. The vast majority of HART's transit service is in Tampa. While transit ridership is extremely low at about 2% of the county's population, most of HART's ridership is in Tampa.
This is a recent chart of coronavirus cases in Hillsborough County. This chart reflects that while the city of Tampa has about 28.6% of the population, Tampa has about 63% of all coronavirus cases in the county.
The evidence is clear that densification and transit help spread dangerous germs and viruses.
The AFT transit tax forces 45% of the $16 Billion tax to go to the transit agency HART. The only reason $7 Billion must go to HART is to fund costly rail projects. The AFT rail tax was intended to force taxpayers in unincorporated Hillsborough County to pay for numerous rail projects in the city of Tampa. While billions are not needed to improve HART's bus service, they are needed for rail projects targeted for the "choice riders" always found somewhere over the rainbow.
The pandemic has devastated transit ridership everywhere and the "choice rider" in Hillsborough County may no longer exist. People will prefer to continue using the safety and security of their own vehicles not boarding trains with strangers. Read More