Advocates of light rail in Pinellas County are hoping to win community support by not rushing it to a vote. According to Bay News 9 partner newspaper the Tampa Bay Times, rail supporters in Pinellas are approaching the matter more deliberately than Hillsborough County did in a failed bid. Hillsborough County voters rejected a penny sales tax for transit in 2010. A study by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority recommends a 24-mile route from downtown Clearwater to downtown St. Petersburg by way of the Gateway Area. The proposed system is estimated to cost between $1.5 and $1.7 billion. St. Petersburg City Council member Jeff Danner told the Times Hillsborough's project was 'more politcally driven' and practical matters such as routes and cost hadn't been determined. 'We're going about it much differently,' he said. The Times said it's unclear when county commissioners could vote to put a tax on the ballot, but the earliest residents could decide would be 2013 or 2014.
TAMPA -- (from baynews9) The funds for a planned high-speed rail line in Florida were rejected by Gov. Rick Scott last year.The governor contended that the proposed line between Tampa and Orlando would have ended up losing money, but a new state report suggests otherwise. According to a report the Florida Department of Transportation sent to the Federal Railroad Administration late last year, the rail line could have generated an annual surplus of between $31 million and $45 million within a decade of operation. About $2.8 billion in federal funds had been pledged for the project, which would have connected Tampa to Orlando and eventually to Miami.The Republican governor turned down the cash in February of last year, saying the proposal was too costly for Florida and could put the state's taxpayers on the hook for the cash. According to offcials, construction could have started this year and been completed by 2015. Officials had stated high-speed rail could have brought 23,000 jobs to