Moving forward (finally!) on transportation

November 16, 2018

On November 6, Hillsborough residents voted to tax themselves a bit more to raise funds needed to fix our transportation woes and repair our aging schools. Fed up with decades of inaction, a group of committed and smart citizens formed All for Transportation, hustled to get the signatures they needed to get a penny sales tax on the ballot, gained the support of community and business leaders – and won. When you look at the folks who led All for Transportation, you see a lot of young people. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this kind of initiative coming from the next generation of Tampa Bay leadership. They care deeply about this community and are doing the work needed to create a better future for all of us.

Kudos to everyone who worked so hard to achieve this win. Special thanks go to All for Transportation, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Partnership, Visit Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Rays, City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Jeff Vinik, Chuck Sykes, and so many others who dedicated time, money and passion to this project. Now the real work begins, and community support is still needed to ensure that essential sources of federal and state funding flow into Hillsborough County to get the job done.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the other important victory on election night – the half penny sales tax for Hillsborough County public schools. Voters agreed that our kids and teachers deserve better than to swelter in hot classrooms with broken air conditioning and get dripped on during rainstorms because the roof above their heads is leaking. It was moving to watch news reports of teachers, parents with their kids in tow, and PTA representatives going door to door to make the case to their neighbors for investing in local public schools. My wife, Verna, teaches kindergarten in a public school in Hillsborough County, so I can tell you that the voters’ support for our schools meant a lot to our family as well.

We have much to be thankful for here at the EDC, and my team and I are grateful to you for supporting our mission. We wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving and a very happy holiday season.

Craig J. Richard, CEcD, FM