Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tribune are still in denial

The Tribune editorial board is at it again in rail cheerleading mode, only this time they are starting early with the attacks on the skeptics.
The usual naysayers are attacking an outreach program seeking Hillsborough residents’ views on transportation.

But citizens should be glad that “Go Hillsborough” is seeking their ideas and concerns as county leaders try to formulate a comprehensive transportation plan.
With more than 36 workshops scheduled, residents will have plenty of opportunities to voice their opinions.

Yet some are already deriding the process. Part of the opposition comes from those who oppose any effort to expand mass transit, particularly adding rail. The cost-benefits of any transit system needs to be thoroughly vetted, but the idea that urban counties in Florida, now the third-largest state in the nation, can continue to rely exclusively on more road building seems preposterous to us.
What seems preposterous to us is the Tribune cannot understand the will of the people. We shall remind them of the transit referendum slaughters they and their supporters forced on us:
  • Hillsborough 2010: 58% - 42% Referendum defeated
  • Polk 2010: 62% - 38% Referendum defeated
  • Pinellas 2014: 68% - 32% Referendum defeated
  • Polk 2014: 72% - 28% Referendum defeated
  • Alachua 2014: 60% - 40% Referendum defeated
The "naysayers" that will pay for this have made their position well known. In every referendum in the areas since 2010 with substantial elements of transit or rail, the "naysayers" have resoundingly said NO!

In the upside down world of the big money and transportation politics, the proponents continue to lose, and revert to name calling, yet the "naysayers" understand reality and continue to win.

But the Tribune refuses to listen.  

They are transit denialists.

Realists understand that vast majority of people will not take transit, so they do not want to pay for something they will not benefit from.

Realists understand that Hillsborough has immediate needs in transportation solutions, but we cannot afford to wait 10 years or more for billion dollar rail solutions that few will ride.

Realists understand that the vast majority of residents use our roads every day, and Hillsborough County has avoided investing in roads.

Realists understand Hillsborough County blew the CIT tax, which had a substantial component for roads, only to be mismanaged to the point where there is no money for roads.

Realists understand that spending billions on transit and rail solutions on the promise of "build it and they will come" is political fairy dust.

Realists understand that Hillsborough County is expected to grow by 600,000 new residents by 2040, independent of transit and rail plans, and the vast majority of them will never ride transit.

Realists understand that rail goes where rail goes, not where people go.

Realists understand people will only change their transportation habits if its cheaper, faster, more convenient.

Realists understand math.

Fix Our Roads First!
Realists understand that we need to Fix our Roads First!

The Tribune states
[The Transportation for Economic Development Policy Leadership Group] has hired Parsons Brinckerhoff, an engineering firm with transportation expertise, to help develop the plan after collaborating with the public. The company has compiled the pertinent information on local transportation needs and costs, so citizens will have the details they need to evaluate proposals.
Realists understand the Parsons Brinckerhoff is a reliable rail supporter.  So reliable, they are willing to engage in corrupt practices, as they've been at the heart of many of the largest public works boondogles, and been fined for corrupt and irresponsible business practices.  Just a few samples

Big Dig Management Consultant and Designers To Pay $450 Million  For PB's role in over $12 billion in cost overruns and shoddy construction on Bostons Big Dig.

Taken for a Ride?  The main consultants for Mecklenburg's light rail system are big, powerful companies. They also have a notorious history of scandal, massive cost overruns, engineering snafus and deceiving the public.

Seattle Area Big Dig: Brought to Us by Parsons Brinckerhoff  Even the DailyKos questions the wisdom of hiring PB.

EyeOnTampaBay has also published several posts on the questionable engagement of Parsons Brinckerhoff locally.

Realists understand Parsons Brinckerhoff is an unreliable partner.

To reiterate one of the recurring points the Tribune and rail proponents repeatedly make, 
The Go Hillsborough outreach is part of the Transportation for Economic Development Policy Leadership Group’s effort to develop a transportation plan that will meet residents’ needs and sustain the community’s economic growth.
What they are saying is they need to spend this money... billions, with billions going to rail solutions, which only rail for some magical reasons can spur economic development, and our economy will take off and jobs aplenty!

The New York money center bank Citigroup, already a powerhouse employer in this market, is considering a plan to add up to 1,163 jobs averaging a hefty $75,000 and $90 million in capital investment at its Sabal Park campus near Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County.
It's not a done deal. Citigroup has other locations where it could place such high-paying jobs, which involve work in accounting, legal, human resources and operational support. The deal here depends on whether state and local authorities can agree on an incentive package of just under $15 million — and whether Citigroup finds a better deal elsewhere.

The boost in Citigroup jobs — in number and average pay — is big even amid Hillsborough's recent robust run of job recruiting coups. The last financial deal of this magnitude was the agreement with financial services firm USAA, announced in late 2013, to add up to 1,215 jobs by 2019 and build a 420,000-square-foot facility in Brandon to accommodate its expansion. Those jobs, in contrast to those planned by Citigroup, pay an average of $47,581.
No, it's not a done deal. Hopefully it will be. And it may cost $15 million in tax incentives and breaks to get those jobs.

But its worth it.

Realists understand that $15 million for over 1100 high paying jobs by 2016 is a better deal than spending billions on rail and some jobs that may materialize in 10 or 20 years from now.

Only denialists don't understand that math.

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