Saturday, December 14, 2013

Greenlight Pinellas trouble with 4th grade math

According to WFLA TV,
The Greenlight Plan is a complicated network of buses, trolleys and light rail connecting the entire county. The cost for building the rail, adding vehicles, and operating the network is $20 billion (YOE) through 2059.
One big selling point is that the light rail fare would be the same as the bus fare, which is only two dollars.
Yet, the Greenlight Pinellas plan (PDF - page 15) states
The Greenlight Pinellas Plan is expected to cost $2.2 billion (2014$)
over 10 years to build and $130 million to operate annually, after full
buildout is achieved in 2024.
Hmm.  Not sure about everyone in Pinellas, but there might be a difference in some numbers.  Which is it?

The Tribune recently stated
If passed, roughly $30 million in property taxes that fund Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority would be replaced by $130 million a year from a one-cent sales tax hike, pushing the county tax to 8 percent. The money would pay for the Greenlight Pinellas plan, which includes a 65-percent expansion of bus services, the development of light rail and traffic lanes dedicated solely for buses. The plan also includes a link to both Tampa and Tampa International Airport, likely through light rail across Howard Frankland Bridge.
There is NO PLAN for light rail across the bridge!  But I digress.

Now let's do some fourth grade math.

$20B to operate Greenlight Pinellas over 45 years.

$130M per year of sales tax revenue to support Greenlight Pinellas

$2 fares.

$20B operating expenses over 45 years is $444M per year in operating expenses.

$130M per year of sales taxes leaves $314M gap in annual operating expenses that have to be covered somehow.  Or a $14.1B shortfall of the expected $20B costs.

That's about 157,000,000 annual ridership on $2 fares to cover those expenses, or about 13.1M riders per month.

PSTA is currently running about 1.2M riders per month.

Boondoggles don't do math

Yeah, that'll work.


  1. Your math is quite correct in a perfect world. However, in a world dominated by other liberal math failures, such as the housing crunch, the Biggart Waters Flood Insurance Fiasco, the Medicaid crunch, the Medicare Crunch, and the Obama Care meltdown. Not only are we totally sunk in every area of public funding, there will be no money to even operate a jail once the schools are forced to close.
    Given this inevitable downward spiral into a whirlpool of red ink, could we have our transportation planners teach the necessary skills of the 21st century: how to run a rickshaw, or how to operate a passenger pedal car.

  2. Look at the first graphic from the link below. It is taken from the Greenlight Pinellas proposal. It will show you how much is going to be spent on the train.
    PinellasGreenlight Pinellas: 11 Deceptions Revealed. Endless Deception is the Goal.