Anti-tax groups are protesting a plan by Hillsborough transportation officials to offer free bus rides to the polls on election day as voters will decide on a sales tax referendum that would benefit the agency offering the rides.

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit has announced it will be offering free bus rides on election day in an effort to get more people to the polls. The agency will also be offering free rides to armed service personnel on Veterans Day.

But anti-tax groups are protesting the promotion — saying it is an effort to drum up votes for a referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot on a penny sales tax increase, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Funds generated by the tax would be used to pay for a light rail system in Hillsborough planned by HART, and well as increased bus service by the agency.

The sales tax increase has generated opposition from groups like No Tax for Tracks in Hillsborough, and Ax the Tax in Orlando.

No Tax for Tracks’ committee raised more than $18,000 for a campaign against the sales tax increase, but that paled in comparison to Moving Hillsborough Forward, a committee formed to launch a campaign in favor of the tax for transit.

Moving Hillsborough Forward, which is supported by powerful Tampa Bay area interests, raised more than $1.3 million for its campaign.

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