Hillsborough County prepares for future without PTC

AP File photo

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County’s Public Transportation Commission has been surrounded by controversy and corruption for years.

In 2012, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White was sent to prison for accepting bribes when he was the chairman of the PTC board. Recently, the FDLE has been investigating the PTC for their role in trying to push out ride sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, in favor of local cab companies.

On Monday, State Representative James Grant introduced legislation to abolish the PTC. Now, the county is preparing for a future without the PTC.

County Commissioner Al Higginbotham is the new chairman of the board for the PTC. He said he believes the legislature will vote to abolish the commission.

“We are in a position now where we are transitioning. We will be bringing on a transitional director,” said Higginbotham.

The goal of the transitional director will be to enforce current regulations while getting ready to hand off the duties of the PTC to another governmental agency. But, who or how the duties will be taken over still isn’t clear.

“That’s going to be a decision made by the administrator, going to be a decision made by the board that will have received guidance from the legislature,” said Higginbotham.

County Administrator Mike Merrill is well aware of the history and problems surrounding the PTC and said he will seek to find a way to replace it’s functions without the existing problems.

“We’ve got a lot of things to unwind here and the main thing is to provide the best service to the people of the county and our visitors,” said Merrill.

However, the PTC is replaced, Higginbotham wants to avoid anymore problems.

“I don’t intend to ruffle any more feathers and do anything that’s going to do any more damage to the image of Tampa Bay than has already been done,” said Higginbotham.

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