TAMPA — HART will return an estimated $1 million in tax money because of cost savings on some transit projects and a delay building a covered walkway at the Marion Transit Center, the agency’s projects committee agreed Monday.
The money will be returned to the pool of Community Investment Tax funds, which is funded by a voter-authorized tax. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority last year returned nearly $9 million to Hillsborough County when various projects for the region’s first Bus Rapid Transit route cost less than anticipated.
“You’ve made my day,” HART board member and County Commissioner Sandy Murman said about the latest accounting. “I always like to find $1 million more in our budget.”
The North-South Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, route that began operation in June has reached about 2,300 trips a day with limited stops and a faster schedule between downtown and the northeast suburbs.
CIT funding also was used for design work on the proposed MetroRapid east-west Bus Rapid Transit route.
The covered walkway serving MetroRapid passengers could not be completed before the March 31 deadline for using CIT funds and will be proposed later under a different potential funding source.
Also on Monday, HART staff said the agency will seek funds though a federal grant program to study a new concepts for the Marion Street Transitway, which runs nine blocks between Tyler Street to Whiting Street and is closed to all but bus traffic on weekdays.
The concept, launched in the 1980s, has never lived up to expectations for ridership and for business development along Marion Street.
One possibility is to return Marion Street to two-way traffic, along with improved pedestrian and bicycle flow.
Workshops on the Marion Street Transitway are scheduled Thursday and April 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tampa Downtown Partnership, 400 N. Ashley Drive.