Independent Oversight Committee

On November 6, 2018, Hillsborough County voters made a commitment to public transportation by overwhelmingly voting to pass a 1-cent sales tax for transportation. Throughout the years, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) has operated in an efficient manner, moving thousands of residents and visitors daily, while continuously being one of the most underfunded agencies in the nation. HART's program of projects is the starting line of the Agency's TRANSitFORMATION and ranges from critical infrastructure and capital improvement projects, to a wide range of operational improvements, projects and studies, all aimed at maximizing the positive impact on customer experience. The time is now. HART has also issued two RFPs for both a Network Evaluation Study and Outreach support to play important roles in establishing our Culture of Excellence. These will chart our best path forward in the short-term and establish a sustainable and achievable long-term vision for the life of the surtax. HART is excited to get to work transforming public transportation to keep Hillsborough County moving!

In November 2018, the residents of Hillsborough County voted for a 1% surtax to fund Transportation projects. Of the 1% surtax, 45% of the new surtax funded was designated for transit specific projects and that funding was designated to go directly to HART. In addition, as part of the referendum, an Independent Oversight Committee (IOC) is required to be created and an annual program of projects from each recipient of the 1% surtax funding must be submitted by September 30th each year for the IOC to review. Review Hillsborough County Transportation Charter Amendment approved by voters on November 6, 2018.

Hillsborough County Ordinance
On September 19, 2019, Hillsborough County Ordinance #19-20, which was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on September 18, 2019, was filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Ordinance relating to the One Percent Transportation Sales Surtax levied pursuant to Article 11 of the Hillsborough County Charter; providing use, allocation, and distribution for the proceeds of such surtax; providing for the severability; providing for the repeal of laws in conflict; providing for the inclusion in the Hillsborough County Code.

IOC Purpose & Members
The Independent Oversight Committee (IOC) was created to oversee spending of the penny surtax for transportation and implementation of the projects identified in each Agency's Project Plans. The main functions of the IOC are to:

  1. Ensure a transparent process by reviewing an annual audit of the surtax proceeds to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and statutes;
  2. Approve Agency Project Plans on an annual basis;
  3. Prepare an annual report to the Hillsborough County Clerk and each Agency presenting the results of the annual audit process and any findings made;
  4. Review any projects proposed by citizens for inclusion in an Agency's Project Plan, and forward them to the appropriate Agency for consideration.
Visit the IOC page for information on upcoming meetings, maps and analysis.

Disbursement Pie Graph


Of the 45% designated to HART, the language of the charter amendment states that HART must spend its funding in the following “buckets” of funding types:
  • 45% on Enhancing Bus Services ($56m annually)
    • Enhancing express, neighborhood, circulator, paratransit and other service modes
  • 35% on Expanding Public Transit Options ($44m annually)
    • Spent on transit service that utilize exclusive transit right-of-way for at least 75% of the length of the service.
  • 30% on Remaining Funds ($25m annually)
    • Flexible funding that can be used on any project to improve public transportation
Staff has developed a strategic set of projects within each of the above buckets of funding that will expend the available sales tax allocations that HART has accrued for both CY 2019 and 2020. Total estimated sales tax revenues allocated to HART for CY 2019 and 2020 is $253,092,000
  • 45%: $113,892,000 of funding toward expanding service
  • 35%: $88,582,000 of funding toward fixed guideway projects
    • No specific projects have been identified for this category to date. There will be $82,232,000 in sales tax reserves for this category at the end of CY 2020.
  • 20%: $50,618,000 of flexible funding toward a variety of transit related projects

Project Status

HART Program of Projects
In our inaugural year, Staff has developed a comprehensive program of projects for review by the IOC that accounts for two full years of funding. The projects include a number of service and capital expenditures primarily aimed at preparing the agency for expansion and improved customer services. Included in the strategy moving is a goal of resetting the baseline of the system through and operational assessment and establishing a 30-year vision through a new Major Transit Development Plan update. The HART Board of Directors approved a program of proposed projects that are aligned with the requirements of the 2018 AFT Transit Surtax. This will include operational and capital projects and estimated costs of these new projects.

HART Appointed IOC Members

HART has appointed attorney Sean Shaw and Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Dean Dustin Lemke to the IOC that will help oversee millions of taxpayer dollars to fund transit projects.

Sean Shaw
Shaw is an attorney at the Merlin Law Group, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives who ran for State Attorney General in 2018.
Dustin Lemke
Lemke is a Dean of Associate in Arts at HCC and a frequent HART rider.

Get Involved / Questions
If you have any questions and or comments please email:
Lena Petit