Hillsborough rail planning gets off the track

HART’s plan for light-rail is too little too late. I have faith that they will get bus enhancement right, however they have no experience planning or running a railroad. HART is at the mercy of very expensive consultants whose vested interest is that HART continue to pay them for more planning advice whether rail delivers on promises of economic development or not. Taxpayers will be stuck with the results while the consultants go to the bank. 

The St. Pete Times opinion that this was a political process only partially explains why we are where we are. This rail project is being driven by those business interests who will most profit from (their) increased property values. 

The question asked at earlier public meetings was “what transportation enhancements do you want” rather than “what could Hillsborough do to enhance our quality of life with an extra $180 MILLION a year?” Something for everyone was promised and put on one ballot rather that letting us vote how much to tax ourselves for each of the three components: rail, bus, roads. 

It comes down to trust. Do we trust our elected officials to do the right thing for County residents, or do we trust them to do what is right for their campaign contributors? Better we should trust our own judgment AFTER we have been given complete, accurate and timely information BEFORE we vote to give the County more BILLIONS of our dollars.

Lastly, remember that NONE of the additional $180 MILLION dollars in taxes will go to fund our basic County services such as health, education, welfare, fire/rescue, law enforcement or parks.

We should look at 2012. 

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


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