Sunday, July 28, 2013

Guest Post: On improving traffic in Hillsborough

Guest post from Hillsborough County concerned citizen and reader Eric Greenbaum:

At the end of a thorough article in Sunday's (publish date July 21, 2013) Tribune on traffic congestion and urban sprawl, light rail as part of a rapid transportation solution was mentioned. But if you looked at the map given of Brandon as an example of our area's current situation, it is apparent that the sprawl is too wide spread for such an expensive mode as light rail to be practical in making a dent in easing traffic flow.

Of course, the reality is that transportation is never the prime reason for light rail. The main purpose is that once it is built, millions of tax dollars in subsidies can be funneled to politically connected businessmen to develop the land around the stations and help herd the residents into those corridors.

This is why in the short and long run buses and advanced traffic light control systems are much more economical and sound ways to improve our areas traffic issues.

Back to the Eye here.

Even if you believe light rail is the solution to Brandon's sprawl, you better be prepared for a long wait for the train.  Buried in the literal small print of an appendix from the Hillsborough MPO 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan:

Hillsborough MPO 2035 LRTP excerpt showing light rail plans for Brandon
So our MPO plans states that Brandon cannot begin to expect light rail until 2035 at the earliest.  Are you ready to wait 22 more years for that train?  And pay over a $1B for it?

Here's another reminder on what Hillsborough County residents think, and not the same old special interests recently paraded in front of the Hillsborough Transportation Leadership Committee, again from the MPO:
MPO Survey
The Tampa Bay area has immediate needs to improve transportation.  We can't afford the time, and we can't afford the costs of light rail.  Let's start with improving our roads, and providing cost effective and improved bus service.

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