HART and the Penny Tax
HART could get this sales tax increase approved by the voters if they would just say no to Tampa property owners
and yes to transit riders.
This has never been about getting people from one place to another.
It has always been about increasing property values near Tampa light-rail lines and stations.
If the BOCC truly cared about public transit they would have earmarked more than $40 million for HART
from the $4 billion CIT.
This represents only 1% of that last sales tax increase, for which we are still paying.
Buses will take as many cars off the street, serve transit users and enhance the environment as would light-rail transit.
There may be as many as 100 buses sitting idle in HART parking lots today. Why is that?
With minimal income from the fair box, the majority of transit funding comes from local, state and federal taxes.
75% of the penny tax increase is earmarked just for transit. The mode has yet to be determined by HART.
There are only four major cost factors for public transportation:
1. Buying equipment, consultants, ROW and infrastructure,
4. Replacing worn-out equipment and infrastructure.
You only need to compare two numbers to understand that moving people is not the top reason for the tax increase:
1. The TOTAL cost for new light rail vs.
2. The TOTAL cost for increased plain old bus (POB).
I believe that you will find that with that 75% of the tax increase,
HART could DOUBLE bus and MetroRapid services, with limited BRT,
and not charge a dime to the riding public;
for less than half of what a light-rail system alone will cost to buy, operate, maintain and replace.
Why are we even thinking about light-rail during these recessionary times?
Let HART do what they do best: county bus service.
Let TBARTA do what it should do best: regional transit.
<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen