During its regular meeting, the HART Board adopted a resolution to strongly oppose Florida Senate Bill 1866 and House Bill 1399, and their requirement for HART and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) to pay $100,000 of local tax money to TBARTA to facilitate a study that predetermines consolidation of the two agencies. Considering such a consolidation could impact the taxing structures of each agency, potentially hurt transit service and increase operating costs, the HART Board is also concerned about the lack of a deliberative process that incorporates input from customers and taxpayers. View HART Board Resolution in Opposition to SB 1866 and HB 1399.
In the HART Legislative Policy Statement, approved Nov. 7, 2011, prior to the start of the Florida Legislative Session, the HART Board emphasized a transparent and deliberative process for consolidation/mergers, an independent study paid on the issue for by the State of Florida, and opposition to state-imposed transportation mandates. To view the HART Legislative Policy Statement, visit: http://www.gohart.org/departments/marketing/news/documents/HART_Legislative_Policy_Statement.pdf
HART and PSTA already partner on various collaborative efforts, including procurement consortiums, such as for fuel purchases, and each operate cross-county bus routes to maintain transit connectivity between the two counties. Consolidation of two agencies that serve two very distinct geographic and demographic areas could have adverse impacts, which are detailed in the following research report: Comments Regarding Possibility of HART/PSTA Consolidation.