TBARTA Chair Ronnie Duncan refused to resign from TBARAT or as head of the Greenlight Pinellas Campaign after his conflict of interest was exposed. The head of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transporation Authority, Duncan described the call only as “politically motivated” and would not acknowledge any wrong doing. This despite a large supporter of the Greenlight effort calling for him to step down as head of the “Yes on Greenlight” campaign. The Tampa Tribune Editorial Board, supporters of Greenlight, called for Duncan to step down from the Yes on Greenlight group, citing the obvious conflict of interest. Duncan did not say if this call from supporters of Greenlight was “politically motivated”.
The Greenlight effort is a campaign to quadruple tax revenues for the Pinellas transit agency, PSTA, to build a train from Clearwater to St. Pete with a smaller amount going to buy new busses. PSTA has already raised eyebrows by spendind about $500,000 on an “educational” campaign to promote Greenlight, without actually mentioning the size of the tax hike in the campaign. The campaign is expected to draw over $1 million to try to get voter approval of the 300% tax revenue hike in November. A similar campaign in Tampa lost in 2010, after raising $1.7 million from developers, contractors and many other who would profit from the tax hike.
The Sun Beam Times calls for Ronnie Duncan to resign as TBARTA chair. He is more than welcome to serve as the chair of the group raising money for govenrment-run transit. However, as the head of a transit agency that is supposed to serve the citizens, he has lost his objectivity in pushing for a massive tax hike to benefit the types of government agencies he runs. There will also be an effort to push, again, for another tax hike for rail in Tampa. Clearly Ronnie Duncan’s conflict of interest is too profound to allow him to be an honest broker of the people’s government. Activists are calling Governor Rick Scott who appointed him and asking for Duncan to be removed. Duncan should save everyone the trouble and step down now.
Note, The Sun Beam Times Editor is a Supporter of No Tax For Tracks, the group trying to stop the tax hike.