TAMPA, Fla. — Some Hillsborough County residents are talking about the types of projects that could be paid for with the newly approved 1 cent transportation sales tax, despite a lawsuit filed questioning the legality of the tax.

  • Tax approved last November
  • Commissioners answered questions during Tampa Bay Sierra Club meeting
  • Tax expected to raise additional $276 million per year if allowed to remain in place
  • More Hillsborough County stories

The tax was approved by a 57 percent majority of voters in November.

Since then, one commissioner filed a lawsuit questioning whether its legal.

If allowed to remain in place, the tax will add a penny on the dollar to the sales tax and raise about $276 million a year.

On Wednesday night, transportation was the topic of discussion at the Sierra Club meeting in Tampa.

Three county commissioners — Pat Kemp, Kimberly Overman and Mariella Smith — discussed the direction they'd like to see the county's transportation take.

Commissioners also answered a series of questions from the audience.

Several people said they would like to see efforts focused on relieving traffic congestion and making streets safer for bikers and pedestrians.

"I have to be very, very alert when I go bike riding in the city," said resident Chris Vela. "I actually live in Ybor City, so even out there, even if it's more walkable, you still have to keep your sights on everything just to make sure you get from place to place safely," said Chris Vela.

The commissioners talked about possibilities like computerizing traffic lights, adding turn lanes and helping intersections flow more smoothly.

Audience members said they'd also like to see changes to HART, the county's bus system.

"We need electric buses," said resident Kent Bailey. "The economics of electric buses is simply that they are the least expensive buses to own and operate over the full life span of the bus."