A week after U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio touted plans for a new high-speed rail system connecting Tampa and Orlando at a briefing on the project, Hillsborough County Commissioners are expected to talk funding for the rail line.
Commissioners for Florida’s fourth largest county are expected to discuss high-speed rail Wednesday at a Budget Workshop meeting in downtown Tampa.
This comes as voters in Hillsborough will be deciding the fate of a penny sales tax referendum on the ballot in November, some of which, if approved, would go towards construction of a light-rail system that would connect key areas of Hillsborough to high-speed rail stops in Tampa.
Work on a high-speed rail system connecting Tampa and Orlando is underway, with surveys, real estate appraisals and soil sampling along I-4. High-speed rail has been a source of great debate in the Tampa area for years, with plans to get the project going always coming up short on support and funding.
That changed in January, when President Barack Obama announced that $1.25 billion in stimulus money would go to constructing the Tampa-Orlando leg. Even as the project moves forward, there is sure to be more debate on costs to taxpayers and local governments amid budget deficits throughout the region.