HOW much?

You would think that after nearly 4 years of study (this time) and how many millions of dollars spent for consultants, that the Hillsborough County MPO could tell us the total cost of the Tampa Choo-Choo through the end of 2035. 

They have a 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan that includes rail, but some maps show four routes, others show only two. Some cost estimates only include construction, some include maintenance and others include operating expenses. 

Nowhere does it show the debt service on the interest if any of this gets bonded-out. Bonds are like a credit card. You buy now and pay later, including interest charges. One billion dollars in new bonds could add $4 MILLION per month in interest payments. Hillsborough already has a one billion dollar debt to service for other things we couldn’t afford and wouldn’t wait. 

The various Hillsborough websites, infomercials and printed materials contain only “happy-talk” about the wonders this rail project will bring to Tampa. In the interests of “let the voters decide” there should be a box score on the top of every brochure and website showing the total, total, total cost of the proposed rail project, including consulting fees already paid right through to the costs of replacing tracks, stations and rolling stock as they wear out over the next 30 years. 

Get this pig out of the poke and into the sunshine! 

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


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