Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Misleading Facts in its Entirety

Today the Tribune published a Letter to the Editor titled Misleading Facts submitted by the Eye's founder, Mark Calvert.  We appreciate the Tribune publishing Mark's letter but they shortened it a bit.  Therefore, we are publishing the letter to the editor in it's entirety as submitted and highlighting what was removed by the Tribune.
Regarding the February 2nd, 2014 Editorial “Much riding on Pinellas transit plan”, the Tribune did not validate Greenlight Pinellas statements against the facts. 
The Trib stated "Another 200,000 people are expected to move into the county over the next 25 years, a 20 percent increase". 
This is cherry picking the data. According to the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research, (, which is the original source of this estimate, the 200,000 population increase by 2040 in Pinellas is the "high" growth scenario. The medium scenario has Pinellas stagnant, and the low growth scenario, a similar likelihood as the high growth, Pinellas actually LOSES nearly 200,000 in the same time frame. 
Greenlight Pinellas should be using the "medium" scenario for population forecasts, which is the scenario the researchers state "believe will generally provide the most accurate forecasts of future population change." 
I should note the Tribune routinely uses 600,000 or less when reporting the forecasted growth for Hillsborough by 2040, which is the "medium" scenario in the cited study. 
Greenlight Pinellas is intentionally misleading in their “education” efforts, as the “most accurate” population forecast offers less compelling justification for their case. 
The Tribune is not performing a public service by mindlessly printing Greenlight Pinellas misleading talking points.


Here are the University of Florida population estimates for Pinellas from their Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research link above:

2012 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040
PINELLAS 920,381

865,700 839,400 812,800 786,000 759,000 731,800 Loss of 188,581
921,000 922,400 923,600 924,700 925,600 926,400 Increase of 6,019
976,300 1,005,400 1,034,500 1,063,400 1,092,200 1,120,900 Increase of 171,189

As the study states, the medium forecast is probably the most accurate.  Is a stagnant population growth over the next 25 years in Pinellas a warning sign about building a high cost light rail system?

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