The PT Board of Directors approved the framework for a Countywide Transit Service Plan on December 9, 2009. When the Polk High Speed Rail Station was announced subsequent to the December 9 plan approval modifications were made to the framework to serve the Polk High Speed Rail station to be located in Lakeland either at Kathleen and I-4 or at the new USF Polytechnic campus.
On December 16, 2009, at the PT’s Board of Directors request, the Polk Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution to place a referendum, on the November 2010 ballot, for the voters of Polk County to consider the use of one half cent of the Charter County Transportation System Surtax to fund the countywide transit plan. The resolution was approved by the Board. The use of the Charter County Transportation System Surtax was made possible, for Polk County to use, by legislative changes made during the 2009 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature and signed by Governor Crist on June 10, 2009. The only option prior to the June 10th signing was a property tax to secure a dedicated source of funding.
On May 5, 2010, the Board of County Commissioners approved an Ordinance placing a referendum on the November 2010 General Election to remit ½ cent of the Charter County Transportation Surtax to the PT. The Ordinance contains the language that will be placed on the ballot.
If the one-half cent sales surtax is provided, by the voters, in November, it will be securing a dedicated source of funding for the PT. This will allow the PT to implement a five year phase-in countywide transit plan and sustain it thereafter. Dedicated funding will be combined with other funding to include Federal and State grants, passenger fares, and advertising revenue to provide service and related support.