HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — HART has set aside several upgrades it wants to accomplish in 2020. The plan has to be set in place in order to receive 45% of the All For Transportation tax residents in Hillsborough County have paid into since January.
The tax is one penny per dollar spent, which adds up to about $62 million.
HART says it would like to get 96 new buses that run on natural gas and burn cleaner. It say right now, nearly half its fleet runs on diesel fuel. That will cost $51,840,000.
HART officials say the Marion Transit Center is also in need of repairs and upgrades. They say the transit center hasn’t been upgraded since it was built. The project would include the repair of damaged concrete drop curb gutters, crosswalks, the roads surrounding the transit center.
They’d also use money to rebuild the storm water drainage. They’ve asked for nearly $1.6 million for those repairs and would come from the Federal Transit Administration and grant awards.
HART also found $1 million to retrofit its buses with protective barriers around bus drivers.
“It was huge news, believe it or not there’s a lot of options out there with regards to these operator barriers. Literally dozens,” said Ben Limmer, HART CEO.
He says they worked with members of the ATU to come to an agreement on what kind of barriers worked best for their drivers which will be custom fit.
“The specific option that we are looking at does not retract or anything like that, but it actually extends very closely to the front windshield on the bus to provide the most protective environment possible for our bus operators,” said Limmer.
He says they would also like to extend their bus routes and create better connectivity for their passengers.
“I’ve heard a lot about restoring some of the service cuts that were made by HART back in 2017. We will likely start there,” Limmer said.