Some of Tampa's biggest players support the proposed referendum.
Some of Tampa's biggest players are putting their support behind the proposed referendum Nov. 2 to add an extra penny to Hillsborough County's sales tax for public transportation improvements, including a new light-rail system and expanded bus service.
Among major contributors to Moving Hillsborough Forward are Sykes Enterprises Inc., which has written two checks for $50,000 each, and TECO Energy Inc., which submitted two donations of $40,000 each. Raymond James Financial Inc. and Syniverse Technologies Inc. each put up $50,000, as have the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Several other companies have made donations of $25,000 so far, including Hannaford Bros. (owner of Sweetbay Supermarkets), Amscot Financial Inc. and law firms Fowler White Boggs, Carlton Fields and Holland & Knight. The University of Tampa has also kicked in $20,000, and various local engineering firms have donated between $10,000 and $25,000 each.
Companies are encouraging the effort largely because transportation is seen as a key to economic development and job generation in competing cities, namely Charlotte and Dallas.
Of course, some will gain directly from construction of a commuter rail line, but backers say they recognize one common goal — getting Tampa out of last place among major metropolitan areas in terms of transportation.