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GreenLight Pinellas Ready to Roll - Maybe

This is a light rail deal. No doubt about it.

Here is a Press release issued in Mid December from No Tax for Tracks

Greenlight Pinellas Plan does NOT include Rail link to Tampa!

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – December 16, 2013

No Tax for Tracks is offering this clarification because The Tribune and Channel 8 News have broadcast reports stating the Greenlight Pinellas Plan includes a rail link to Tampa over the Howard Franklin Bridge.  Our research has discovered that as late as November 2013, there was confusion within PSTA over whether the Greenlight Pinellas Plan funded a rail line to Tampa.  But the Greenlight Plan does not include any rail, or rail links to Tampa.

At PSTA’s Planning Committee Meeting on November 13, 2013, PSTA’s CEO, Mr. Brad Miller, said there is no funding in the Greenlight plan for any rail link to Tampa.  Listen to him explain what kind of funding projects the Greenlight Pinellas Plan contains by clicking on video.

Based upon Mr. Miller’s statement we are issuing a clarified map of the Greenlight Plan, for the good residents of Gotham

MEDIA CONTACT:             Barbara Haselden, 727-709-7039

Comment:
What I find interesting is the amount of time the County Commission spent talking about trains, bonds and financing for light rail during the final approval vote meeting.  After all the talking they just took the PSTA bait hook line and sinker.

This is a light rail deal. No doubt about it. All of the talk about expanded bus service is just icing on the PSTA cake, something to make the whole deal easier for the public to swallow. And there are no mandates in the Ordinance requiring PSTA to actually follow through on the bus commitments.

In their zeal to get this to pass on November 4, PSTA and their supporters are going to pull out all the stops. Take all of that stuff that will be showing up in your mail box and on your TV screen with a grain of salt as pointed out in the press release.

Let's all hope the political fact checkers do their job.

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb)Friend request. See More of Doc at Bay Post Internet and St.PetePatch.

Get ready to vote "NO" on the Transportation Sales Tax Referendum.

 

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Jonathan Kind January 07, 2014 at 07:15 PM
1) Light rail from the trop to clearwater 2) Rail from new tampa to the forum and airport 3) include rail lines in the design when they rebuild the howard franklin.
Jack Sprat January 08, 2014 at 01:52 AM
Someone please provide a list of light rail systems in the US that did not require huge taxpayer costs for construction and equipment, that actually relieved traffic congestion and resulted in improved air quality and also tell us the % of the metro area population using the system and what % the riders pay of the operating cost vs taxpayer costs...... While you are at it, also name just one or two light rail systems that were credited with being the reason a company relocated to that area and brought a significant number of new jobs.... In fact, I would be happy if someone can cite ONE example of a light rail system in the US that has been constructed on time at the budgeted cost and brought economic improvement (jobs) to the area.....Even though Greenlight has not told us how much they plan to spend and how long it will take to build, they sure want a lot of our money! $130 MILLION every year out of our pockets, out of our local economy - forever......... Of course those who support light rail believe that just because no other city has a successful light rail system, we have smarter, better politicians who will solve all of the problems others have failed to overcome.... We currently have less than 2% of the population using the PSTA bus system and taxpayers pay ALL of the capital costs and 75% of the operating costs - and yet we have all seen the empty buses in downtown St. Pete and Clearwater at "rush hour."...... Why do we even think about a $2 BILLION train????????......... Someone can surely explain the reason(s)................Hint: follow the money.
Cathy Wilson January 09, 2014 at 07:57 AM
Name a road (except toll roads) that pays for itself. Soft costs include land acquisition, construction and maintenance - which taxpayers pay for. Roads are proven economic drivers and we have long since agreed to fund them from the public purse. Why is rail somehow different? PSTA has myriad problems with delivering a decent bus service, some of which they propose to try to fix with Greenlight. Chief among the issues... Schedules that don't mesh with when or where the majority of people now driving need to go. Ridership has increased year over year but to achieve anything like the market penetration necessary to make a dent in road traffic, PSTA absolutely MUST get better at meeting the needs of potential riders be it by bus, bus rapid transit and/or rail.
Jack Sprat January 09, 2014 at 12:53 PM
Name a road we do not need........Everything that moves in a truck needs a road - groceries, fuel, building materials, garbage, buses, furniture deliveries, mail, packages, almost everything. .......Take a look at everything in your home and ask what would be there if you didn't have roads.......You would not have a home!.....Buses and passenger trains do not move materials, they move people........Turns out that people have to do more than go back and forth to work.....We go to grocery stores, drugstores, clothing stores; we go to schools and soccer games; some people even go to baseball, football, basketball and hockey games......Our county does not have the population density to support the number of buses/trains/BRT/vans (whatever) necessary to transport a significant number of people from wherever they are to wherever they want to go - when they want to go.....It works in New York City because there are 27,000 people per square mile and we have only 1,666 people per square mile if you include the water, 3,500 if you don't........The county actually covers 600 square miles. Even though people do not typically live on the water, they have to travel around or over the water to get from one place to another, so there's a case for assuming the lower population density.....Point is, it would be impossible to provide a transportation system other than cars to accommodate the needs of the vast majority (98%) of the population...Also remember that our jobs are not concentrated in downtown St. Pete, downtown Clearwater or Gateway - our jobs are evenly spread all over the county.....The people are spread out and the jobs are spread out and most of us do not work in the same area where we live......Personal transportation is the only way we can get where we want to go when we want to go.....Some people think we should all move to a condo near a train station and that would solve all our problems.....The reason we live where we live is because we don't want to live in a condo near a train station!
Jack Sprat January 09, 2014 at 12:59 PM
PSTA does have myriad problems, most of which are SPENDING problems.....They currently have about 200 buses on 40 routes with over 5,000 stops. Less than 2% of our population uses PSTA buses....Here's the 2014 budget: http://www.psta.net/PDF/FY%202014%20Adopted%20Budget.pdf .........$63 MILLION operating expenses, $14 MILLION (22%) paid by riders, $49 MILLION paid by taxpayers (property tax, state tax and federal tax money is taken from taxpayers)..... .......$38 MILLION (60%) is for wages and benefits.....$65,000 every year per employee! The UNIONS LOVE PSTA!...... Ridership is at an all-time high of 14 MILLION per year, which means the average fare is $1.00 (by the way, the way they count rides is not per person - each transfer is counted as a ride, so a person making two transfers gets counted as THREE rides. Going to work and back home would be SIX rides counted ......Check it out with PSTA. Here's the info on the PSTA website:…. = Transit Vehicles: 199; = Bus Routes: 40, including 2 express routes to Hillsborough County; = Bus Stops: 5,105; = Bus Shelters: 707; = Customer Service Centers: 3; = Annual Calls Received by InfoLine: 342,401; = Total Ridership (FY 12): 14 million; Annually; 44,642 Daily; = Bikes on Buses Trips (FY 12): 376,290 Annually; = Demand Response Service (DART) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) = Trips: 262,055; = Annually; 853 Daily; = Annual Mileage (FY 12): 8.5 Million Miles; = Annual Service Hours (FY 12): 593,092 Hours; = Annual Total Operating Budget: $60.6 Million; = Number of Employees: 584; = Funding: Federal and State grants (19%); = passenger fares (25%); = advertising and miscellaneous revenues (3%); = Ad Valorem taxes (53%); = Millage Rate: 0.7305 (cap 0.75);……. ....If we have so many people that want to go from St. Pete to Clearwater, why don't we have express buses on the same route with the same stops as the train? If they are successful, add more buses; if not, cut the service back......Once they spend $2 BILLION on a train, it CANNOT be changed to meet needs..... Back to that "record ridership" claim: 14 million divided by 2 (round trip) is 7 million, divided by 365 days equals 19,178 or 1.9% of our population......Once the transfers are consolidated to one actual rider, the number is about 16,000 or 1.6% of our population......We do not need a train, we need better management....We do not need an additional 1% sales tax - that is $130 MILLION taken out of our local economy every year instead of the $30 MILLION they are taking from property taxpayers. ......That extra $100 MILLION will come directly from those who do not own property!

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