Archive for the TOD Category

What if ….

Posted in Curious Puzzle, Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Politics, TOD, Transportation with tags , , , , on December 4, 2010 by

smoke and mirrorsWhat if Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners Chairman Higginbotham’s recent about-face support of light-rail for downtown Tampa has more to do with getting re-elected than about getting people from one place to another?

What if county “Economic Development”, “Transit Oriented Development”, “Rail Initiatives” , “Regional Transportation”, “New Business Development”, “Tampa Ballpark” and “Job Creation” were instead just about personal wealth opportunities for local landowners, developers, lawyers and investors?

What if this was all about taxpayers paying to tear down housing in low and moderate income neighborhoods so that developers can come in and build “affordable housing” with mortgages from banks and other lending institutions that are guaranteed by federal government-backed “Ginnie Mae” mortgage-backed securities, bought by County tax-exempt bond issues which are then bundled into publicly traded securities for the benefit of private investors?

What if no one but a few knowledgable insiders understand this?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


Won’t get fooled again

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Opinion, Politics, TOD, Transportation with tags , , , , , , , on October 30, 2010 by verbumsapienti2
Cheerleader in 2006 costume

Even I won't get fooled again

Does anyone still remember the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? We used to watch them play on TV, until the games were blacked out. We used to watch them in Raymond James Stadium, until we could no longer afford tickets/parking/beer/hotdogs. 

Does anyone still remember the last $4 BILLION sales tax increase we voted on ourselves? It was supposed to pay for good stuff like transportation improvements.

$168.5 million of the tax went instead to the owners of the Bucs to build Raymond James. 

 $40 million went to HART for improved bus service, of which only $1.3 was ever spent: less than one percent of what we paid for football we can no longer enjoy. 


Now, Ken Hagan’s Transportation Task Force is recommending ANOTHER tax increase. Wait for it: to fund transportation improvements.

This time however, the tax increase will start at $180 MILLION every year from now on to forever, perhaps reaching $600 MILLION per year by 2035.

Much of the money will go for a Choo-Choo for downtown Tampa. 

This time, instead of just the Glazer family profiting from the tax increase, Tampa lawyers, consultants, developers and landowners will all profit. What do the taxpayers get? Starting five years from now; new low-wage, part-time, no-benefit  jobs in new Tampa restaurants, shops and hotels. If you live outside of the two proposed light-rail transit corridors, you will still either need to drive or take the bus. 

The taxpayers got snookered with the last sales tax increase. We should not allow ourselves to be snookered again.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

TOD – Tampa Oriented Development

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, TOD with tags , , , , on October 24, 2010 by
Downtown Tampa

TOD - Tampa Oriented Development

Transit Oriented Development, or TOD as it is often referred, is made out to be the nirvana of environmentalism and the magic road to prosperity.

 However, in Hillsborough County the only “green” that will be created will be going into the pockets of Tampa city consultants, landowners and developers.

 Prosperity will also come primarily at the expense of unincorporated Hillsborough County.

TOD is about increasing property values in Tampa, not transportation.
TOD is about Tampa Oriented Development.

A September 10, 2010 letter to David Armijo, CEO of Hillsborough Areas Regional Transit (HART) from Ray Chiaramonte, Director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) gives TOD as the number one reason to approve light-rail transit for Tampa.

 MPO directed a consultant to come back with a report on TOD potential within the two selected transit corridors. The resulting August 2009 Report says:

“In a review of studies regarding the economic impacts of existing transit systems, ERA found that rail has a positive impact on property values within one-quarter mile of stations. The degree of price premiums (in land and real estate) varies by land use and station location relative to the central city.”

 So, what does that mean for those of us south and east of Tampa?
It means that we all will be paying higher taxes to make Tampa more attractive for residential, business, education and health services development. 

Higher taxes will certainly come from the proposed sales tax increase. Higher taxes will also come as a result of tax incentives given to developers within the Tampa rail corridors. We will pay for county services to these developers, while they get a free ride on County taxes.

The County has made all of its plans centered around making it harder, more inconvenient and more expensive to live outside of Tampa.

By putting all the future job growth in Tampa, everyone living in the rest of Hillsborough will have to commute to jobs in Tampa.

So, what is the County’s TOD plan for the rest of Hillsborough to get to jobs in Tampa?
The same bus system that they do not want for Tampa because they don’t think anyone there will want to ride them. But it is OK for those living outside of Tampa to ride buses?

There is nothing wrong with Plain Old Bus (POB) transit. It can be just as safe and convenient as rail, and POB is a WHOLE lot cheaper. Energy efficient bus transit can produce less pollutants than electric trains that get power from coal-fired TECO on Big Bend Road. This remains one of the worst offending electric power plants in the nation.

What about driving to Tampa from outlying areas of Hillsborough? Congestion will not improve for us, it will only get worse. South Hillsborough County is slated to be the fastest growing area of the county, once we start recovering from the recession. We are not part of any “Transit Oriented Development” plan, regardless of the number of people living here or how many square feet of commercial/light industrial space has already been approved here.

Private enterprise bought and made ready for development in Ruskin, four and one-half MILLION square feet of space that would employ 20,000 of our neighbors. If The County were really interested in getting cars off the road, they would move heaven and earth to get that space filled. Instead? They plan to build new space in Tampa and fill that space with new jobs that we will have to commute to get to. 

Let the taxpayers of Tampa pay for Tampa Oriented Development.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen