Moving Hillsborough forward
Residents of Hillsborough County will make a critical decision for our community this November.
Born and raised in Tampa, and having spent my life providing services to the community as a CPA, banker and developer, I can say with confidence that the decision to implement a one-cent sales tax for transportation must be made in the affirmative.
Hillsborough has the opportunity to establish the framework for investment in a project that will drive economic growth for many years. Up and down the socio-economic ladder, all citizens of our community will benefit from the implementation and execution of the plan for expanded bus service, light rail, improved roads, bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.
The current unemployment and real estate market in Hillsborough are dismal. It may take many years before it rebounds to resemble the times of prosperity again. No one likes taxes, but we must look past labels and understand reality.
A one-cent sales tax is an investment each of us will make in our community that will be returned many times over.
The returns will be in the following benefits:
•Creating tens of thousands of jobs between 2011 and 2035 through direct and indirect effects of this program.
•Creating related economic benefits - including the development of offices, residential facilities, cultural centers, entertainment and retail in and around transit corridors, redeveloping already impacted and currently outdated and unattractive areas, and injecting much-needed dollars into our economies.
•Regaining competitive ground in retaining and attracting businesses and talent.
•Giving our young people a viable option to stay in Tampa Bay rather than seek their fortunes in other more progressive communities that see the value of transportation options.
•Creating modern, transit-oriented communities and quality places, affording new options for citizens concerning how and where they wish to live.
•Conserving land, green spaces, water, air and fuel.
•Providing independence to seniors, handicapped persons and tens of thousands of workers who would embrace the option of a significantly improved transportation system over sole reliance on cars.
One of the biggest payoffs is the tie-in with high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando. In essence, the long-term benefits of this will be a merging of the Tampa and Orlando business communities, creating an economic powerhouse that will be one of the largest in the world.
Using the sales tax system to make this investment is smart. About 17 percent to 20 percent of the contributors will be from outside this area. The sales taxes will be paid by tourists, visiting business people and conventioneers.
Imagine the bump we will get as a community in 2012 when the Republican National Convention comes to Tampa.
And this is exactly the type of project that only a government entity can execute.
One of the roles of government is to set the table for its citizens to prosper. The profile of this type of project is very broad and community-oriented. Government must take the lead.
And we must follow. This is a significant opportunity for about $12 per month for a family of four, so all of us who call Hillsborough County home can do something for ourselves and for our community to prosper for generations to come.