At the tend of today’s Tampa Tribune article on the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority there was an interesting comment.
First, some background.
The Authority was the product of the Tampa Bay Partnership working with former State Senator Jim Sebesta and State Reprsentative Bill Galvano. It brings a number of counties and cities together to work toward a more unified vision of transit and transportation in the Bay Area.
I love the idea.
This year, the Legislature passed the bill to create the Authority and included a measly $1 million – that’s less than 1/7000th of the state’s budget – for the initial startup costs (staffing, office space, furniture and equipment, etc).
Governor Crist vetoed the funding because it came from the wrong pool of money.
So what are they to do?
Beg for help from the DOT and community — sure sure. The DOT can help provide some minimal staff support, arranging meetings and doing some preliminary planning. And perhaps local comapnies could provide some pro-bono legal advice and free office space. Not bad things considering the overall goal.
Still, they are going to need more help than donations can provide, if they are to do their jobs right. They can ask Governor Crist for some funding, to be approved by the Legislative Budget Commission, from another pool of money. But that may not be enough or even successful.
So, where do they turn? Where did other local authorities get their start up costs?
Wait for it…
Wait for it…
If Galvano doesn’t succeed, he said, he will turn to local governments in areas covered by the authority – Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties – and ask them to pitch in.
So, the same local governments that are laying off staff, reducing funding to community groups, putting off plans to build new rec centers or parks, stretching their pothole and code enforcement budgets are then going to find a little cash for a project that isn’t even theirs?
The real question will be how fast can they tell him where to stick TBARTA?