Friday’s Tampa Tribune editorial once again missed why voters rejected the Tampa Choo-Choo. They didn’t miss lamenting however that the Choo-Choo would not be running past their front door any time soon.
Perhaps we should instead call it
the Tampa TRIBUNE Choo-Choo.
Did TBARTA not attend any of the public meetings prior to the election that they needed to now pay an out-of-town consultant to do a survey to find out why the tax increase was rejected?
The pessimism and doubt that was found was only partially about the economy. It was just as much about a lack of faith that The County would spend the tax increase wisely and that it would change anyone’s life any time soon; unless you were a downtown Tampa land owner, developer, lawyer or consultant.
Not one dime has been spent from our last sales tax increase for improved bus transit.
Why is it too that HART has 100 brand new buses sitting idle from a grant they received? It might have something to do with the $15 MILLION spend by them instead to study and promote rail transit for downtown Tampa.
Bus Rapid Transit would better serve the entire county at much less cost, but this was inexplicably rejected by HART.
Voters who needed jobs NOW, saw thorough the argument that rail would bring jobs when in fact the jobs would not be created until five years hence and would largely be low-wage, part-time, no-benefit jobs in hotels, restaurants and shops.
Voters also questioned why, if a $180 MILLION per year tax increase would be so painless to taxpayers, why couldn’t that money be used to create jobs NOW and improve bus service to get to those jobs NOW.
Think of the dark irony of The County putting up a sign in an empty downtown lot that said:
”Emergency job assistance,
food and shelter facility
to be built here in 2015.”
<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen