Iroio touts benefits of light-rail option
How can Pam Iorio say on one hand that Hillsborough County Area Regional Transit officials cannot advocate passage of the referendum to fund transit, while on the other hand as Mayor of Tampa say that light rail is the only choice and bus rapid transit is not acceptable? It sounds to me a whole lot like Mayor Pam is “advocating”.
To whom is bus transit “not acceptable”? Snobs who don’t want to mingle with the common folk who ride the bus? Commissioner Al Higginbotham at least is no snob; he often rides the bus and has enough class to have a bus pass. Mayor Pam, have you seen HART’s massive plans to upgrade bus service? With those new routes and service, there is little or no justification for light-rail.
Remember that last half-penny Community Investment Tax (CIT) we voted on ourselves in 1996? We could already have the bus service we need if that were being used wisely. Does anyone really think these same county people are going to spend another full-penny of our taxes any more wisely? Think about how we could improve the quality of life for everyone in Hillsborough County if we just used that $180 MILLION (each year forever) if we didn’t waste it on a downtown Tampa Choo-Choo that we don’t need right now.
Listening to Iorio and the Moving Hillsborough Forward lobby is like watching one of those many drug ads on TV. Here are all the wonderful benefits they say while all the serious possible side effects are in text too small to read. When have either Iorio or the MHF people ever shared with voters the possible negative consequences of light-rail for downtown Tampa?
Moving Hillsborough Forward has also taken a change of direction since HART reveled that there will be no rail route details available before the tax increase vote. Now they say that getting people from point A to point B comes WAY behind economic development. Wait a minute. Transit is all about ridership. If people don’t ride the thing, all taxpayers will get is an expensive shiny toy that will suck up our money forever.
“Economic development” is not about creating jobs, it is about making land values skyrocket. Who will benefit in Tampa? Property owners near the rail routes. When will County citizens be offered high-paying jobs as a result of light-rail? Unless you are a consultant, attorney or can swing a pickax, you can’t expect any jobs until way after the rail construction is finished; 5 to 10 years from now. We don’t need economic development now for the distant future, we need job creation now. Put people back to work now, and we won’t have any problem funding rail for Tampa later.
Let’s get our priorities straight: jobs now, Tampa Choo-Choo later.
<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen