Sunday, November 18, 2018
  • Bay Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Los Angeles mayor hails Hillsborough transit vote on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’

TAMPA – The midterm elections produced a Democratic woman governor for Kansas, an expanded majority in the U.S. Senate, and saw Democrats retake the House.

But speaking on Jimmy Kimmel Live! late Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed Hillsborough County voters' approval of a sales tax hike for transportation as the Election Day outcome that most excited him.

The penny on the dollar, 30-year tax tax is to "fix the damn roads, to get some public transportation built,"  Garcetti said.

"As Washington has this kind of charade about  what politics really is, I think real people want actual things to pass," he told Kimmel. "Bob Buckhorn, who's the mayor of Tampa — amazing guy, and a huge coalition passed that."

Kimmel, who lived in Tampa about a year while working as a radio deejay,  had a quick comeback for the mayor, whose city is notorious for congested roads.

"I wouldn't be rooting for that. If I was you, I'd want traffic in every other city to be worse than L.A.," he said. "There seems to be no way to make that better here."

More than 57 percent of Hillsborough voters approved the transportation plan, placed on the ballot by the citizens group All for Transportation.

Its passage comes after two previous Tampa Bay transportation referendums were overwhelmingly rejected by voters in Hillsborough in 2010 and Pinellas in 2014.

The new tax will raise about $276 million per year. Fifty-five percent will go to Hillsborough's four local governments — Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City and Hillsborough County — to spend on road improvements.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit authority would get the remaining 45 percent of the tax proceeds. Most of that would go toward expanding bus service, while about one-third would be spent on a transit system with its own right-of-way linking the University of South Florida, downtown Tampa and West Shore. The system could be bus rapid transit, light rail or traditional rail using existing CSX tracks.

Contact Christopher O'Donnell at codonnell@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times

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