Thursday, August 27, 2015

Go Hillsborough Gets Debunked Again!

We all acknowledge we have traffic congestion in Hillsborough County but are we #11 in the country in traffic congestion?  I can name 10-15 metropolitan areas off the top of my head that have worse traffic congestion than we do.

However, Go Hillsborough posted on their Facebook page that Hillsborough County has the 11th worse congestion in the country. They provided no data sourcing on their post.

Parsons Brinckerhoff, a transportation expert, made the same statement in the packet they handed the county commissioners at the June 11 Transportation Policy Leadership Group (PLG) meeting. This was the packet where Parsons and County Administrator Mike Merrill recommended a huge $3.5 Billion 30 year sales tax hike but provided no plan for where the money would be spent.
From packet Parsons Brinckerhoff handed PLG on 6/11
 (click to enlarge)
Parsons, a professional engineering firm, cites no source for their statement. 

Go Hillsborough is hosting 64 more meetings around the county costing taxpayers an additional $350K, over and above the million dollars they were already handed. It is obvious they are advocating to get votes around the county to support a huge 30 year sales tax hike for a 10 year transportation plan. It's the Community Investment Tax "there's something for everyone" all over again.

Go Hillsborough includes the same statement that we're #11 in traffic congestion on one of their displays at these latest meetings. Again no source is cited for such statement.
Go Hillsborough display at latest meetings
The PLG voted to hire a "transportation expert" to do transportation public engagement to create a transportation plan. Taxpayers are paying hefty Parsons Brinckerhoff consulting rates for this work.

What transportation expert makes such claims without citing the source or providing the source data? Transportation experts are expected to use legitimate source data and provide it.

Therefore, why would the Go Hillsborough campaign and it's prime consultant transportation engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff make such an accusation without any source data?

Either their source exists or it does not; or the source is bad, not legitimate and they know it. Does Go Hillsborough assume that we believe everything they say just because they say it?

A simple Google search confirms their statement of Hillsborough County having the 11th worse traffic congestion in the country is bogus. 

Legitimate sources like INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute do real traffic studies, publish their results and all their source data.

According to this article INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute just updated their traffic analysis for 2014. They actually use a set of defined metrics.
Traffic congestion nationally reached a new peak last year and is greater than ever before, according to a report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX Inc. Their analysis is based on federal data on the number of cars on the road and on traffic speed data collected by INRIX on 1.3 million miles of urban streets and highways. 
The following are urban areas ranked by the average annual extra hours commuters spend in their cars due to delay, together with the cost in lost time and fuel.
1. Washington, D.C.-Virginia-Maryland, 82 hours, $1,834
2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, 80 hours, $1,711
3. San Francisco-Oakland, 78 hours, $1,675
4. New York-Newark, New Jersey-Connecticut, 74 hours, $1,739
5. San Jose, California, 67 hours, $1,422
6. Boston-New Hampshire-Rhode Island, 64 hours, $1,388
7. Seattle, 63 hours, $1,491
8. Chicago-Indiana, 61 hours, $1,445
8. Houston, 61 hours, $1,490
10. Riverside-San Bernardino, California, 59 hours, $1,316
11. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 53 hours, $1,185
12. Atlanta, 52 hours,$1,130
12. Detroit, 52 hours, $1,183
12. Miami, 52 hours, $1,169
12. Austin, Texas, 52 hours, $1,159
12. Portland, Oregon, 52 hours, $1,273
17. Phoenix-Mesa, 51 hours, $1,201
18. Honolulu, 50 hours, $1,125
19. Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut, 49 hours, $1,174
19. Denver-Aurora, 49 hours, $1,101
19. Oklahoma City, 49 hours, $1,110
22. Philadelphia, 48 hours, $1,112
23. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 47 hours, $1,262
23. Tucson, Arizona, 47 hours, $1,128
23. Baltimore, 47 hours, $1,115
23. Minneapolis-St. Paul, 47 hours, $1,035
Is Tampa-St. Petersburg listed as one of the top congested cities? No.

This information came from the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard INRIX and Texas A&M Transportation Institute recently published. All the source data can be found here. The source data for Tampa-St. Petersburg can be found here.
Mobility Data for Tampa-St. Petersburg
(click to enlarge)
There is not one traffic congestion metric listed for the Tampa Bay area that reflects we are #11 in traffic congestion. The worst metric for Tampa Bay has us ranked at #22, and others go as high as #62.  See the complete data, line #99 for the full Tampa - St. Petersburg rankings and data.

There are so many improprieties with the entire Go Hillsborough campaign and they just keep coming. It appears the end (another huge 30 year sales tax hike) justifies the means (do anything to push support for the tax) taxpayer expense. 

If Go Hillsborough cannot provide truthful, legitimate information regarding our traffic congestion, what else are they not being truthful about in their campaign?

Voters and taxpayers in Hillsborough County deserve to be told the truth and provided factual data.

We deserve much better. 

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