Earlier this week, I opined about a bill filed by Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) that would create a regional (Tampa Bay) transportation authority while eliminating the Hillsborough County Expressway Authority. As you may recall, I liked the former but not the latter.
Today, the Tampa Tribune is reporting that Fasano’s counterpart, Representative Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) has filed his version of the bill (HB 251), creating the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority, but leaves the Expressway Authority intact:
The bill was a companion to a similar bill filed Monday by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and would create an authority to pay for transportation projects in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. But while Fasano’s bill would abolish the Expressway Authority, Galvano decided to back off.
It was a U-turn for Galvano, who, like Fasano, had called for the agency’s demise since August as it weathered a spate of public embarrassments that included two state investigations, an FBI probe, and the sudden departure of its top official amid revelations about his ties to a porn business. But Galvano said local political support of the embattled agency convinced him to omit it from his bill. “The shock value of what we have heard about in the last few months has waned,” Galvano said. “I don’t want my bill to get mired in the politics of the Expressway Authority. It would make my bill radioactive.” Galvano will present his bill today during a meeting with area state legislators.
I have to say that I am glad to see the legislators presenting a reasonable solution. People living in Hillsborough County should contact Representative Galvano, and thank him for filing his version of the bill.