Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Taxpayers, Transit Campaigns, TBARTA and Special Interests - Oh My!

Special interests wanted to ensure a regional transit entity would be tied to the $1.5 million regional premium transit campaign that began last year. Senator Latvala obliged by using his powerful position as Senate Appropriations Chair to ram thru legislation this year creating an unnecessary 5 county regional transit agency TBARTA (Tampa Bay Area Regional TRANSIT Agency).

Taxpayers in Tampa Bay should be on the watch for what is coming next.


Because the bill that created TBARTA did not fund it or provide for any funding mechanism for this new transit agency. 

But it did provide a way for games to be played. The half-baked bill enabled the legislative analysis to disingenuously state: "The bill does not appear to have a significant fiscal impact on state or local government".

What? Google regional transit entities to find out how "significant" a fiscal impact they actually have on state and local governments. Google Tri-Rail and SunRail. The analysis left off an important word at the end "yet".

Hold on to your wallets because funding TBARTA is a multi-year effort. According to this May 4 Times article
The Tampa Bay Partnership, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft all lobbied for the [TBARTA] bill, which is the first of several steps the local business community has planned to address regional transit issues.
"This just scratches the surface," said Tampa Bay Partnership president Rick Homans. "There's a lot more to be done."

There is already talk of putting together legislation for next year that would address how to fund TBARTA, which currently does not have a budget or taxing authority that would allow it to build or operate any future transit projects.

The repurposing of TBARTA over the next year or two coincides with an ongoing regional transit study that the Florida Department of Transportation paid for to identify whether rail, express bus or other types of transit will work in Tampa Bay. That study is expected to wrap-up next year, by which time Homans and others are hoping the reshaped TBARTA will be in place to oversee the development of any resulting regional projects.
It's no coincidence. Repurposing TBARTA is directly tied to the current transit campaigns and FDOT's Tampa Bay Next initiative. We suspect the special interests helped orchestrate them too.

The special interests led by the Tampa Bay Partnership kept losing at the local level so they took their transit agenda to Tallahassee. That makes it much more difficult, basically impossible, for local citizens to engage, weigh in or even keep up with all the political machinations going on in Tallahassee. Joe and Jane citizen taxpayer do not have the ability much less the access and influence to continuously roam the halls of Tallahassee during session.

On July 14, 2017, ironically the same day Jeff Vinik announced he helped to financially bail out the Tampa Bay Times, the Times published Jeff Vinik: Politicians are holding back Tampa Bay's transit future 
Jeff Vinik said Friday that it's local politicians, not the business community, who are holding Tampa Bay back when it comes to transit. 
It's up to the business community and the public to help politicians understand how critical an issue transit is for Tampa Bay, Vinik said.
Vinik on Friday announced that he belongs to a group of local investors who loaned $12 million to the Times as part of its refinancing.
That sounds quite different from the December 2014 interview with CNN Money  when Vinik, who moved from Boston to Tampa, said this:
"The quality of life down here is absolutely fantastic," he says. "How nice it is to live in good weather and live in an area without too much traffic," 
We can only speculate......Vinik is now on the Board of the Tampa Bay Partnership, a special interest organization who has been the largest supporter of tax hikes for transit boondoggles in Tampa Bay. He is now financially propping up the Tampa Bay Times who is probably the second largest supporter of tax hikes for transit boondoggles in Tampa Bay. 

To rehash reality - four transit tax hike referendums in Tampa Bay since 2010 (Hillsborough, Pinellas and two in Polk County) were overwhelmingly defeated by voters. There were county commissioners in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties who roamed all over the county as public champions for the tax hikes. Local politicians are not the problem. Continuing to push huge tax hikes for costly and unnecessary transit projects with basic math problems is the problem.

Several TBARTA board members and it's Executive Director Ray Chiarmonte met last week with Senator Galvano at his Manatee office. The TBARTA board members who attended were the Chair, Jim Holton, Policy Committee Chair Melanie Griffin and Board member Manatee County Commissioner Betsy Benac.

The Eye attended. As we speculated the meeting was about money. TBARTA has a funding issue because the half-baked TBARTA bill passed and Governor Scott veto'd their $250K appropriation. The key request was TBARTA asking the state next year for a million dollars of operating money to "achieve their goals".

While the goals were not all specified, TBARTA is statutorily required to produce a regional transit development plan (TDP). They need money to do that as a result of the half-baked bill.  

TBARTA Board members told Galvano that the Tampa Bay Partnershp and their group were identified as the "stakeholders" who are all lined up in support. [There was no mention of taxpayers lined up to support - they must not be considered "stakeholders".]

TBARTA will be asking for policy changes, not just the million dollars of operational funding. It's the policy changes that taxpayers should watch closely.

Chiarmonte told Galvano that TBARTA will be the recipient at the end of 2018 of the recommended project(s) resulting from Jacobs Engineering taxpayer funded $1.5 million Regional Premium Transit Campaign. 

But here we go again. TBARTA is asking for a million dollars from the state to produce a regional transit development plan at the same time FDOT handed $1.5 million to Jacobs Engineering to create a "Regional Transit Feasibility Plan". 

Who's on First? Who's minding the taxpayer till?

How many times will taxpayers pay to duplicate work over and over and over again? A million bucks here and a million bucks there.  

Since TBARTA has little staff, they will hire a consultant to create their TDP.  Perhaps Jacobs, who proposed Greenlight Pinellas and was a subcontractor on Go Hillsborough - will be recycled through again......they keep throwing out the same thing.....Here's the latest from their regional transit campaign. Surprise! Rail, rail and more outdated costly rail!  
Jacobs Engineering transit campaign top transit projects
Taxpayers are paying $1.6 million to do another study about expanding the nearly bankrupted Tampa Streetcar. It's only the third Streetcar study since 2014. [A streetcar  along Florida Avenue in downtown - where's the traffic impact analysis?]

But the timing of this round of taxpayer funded transit campaigns could not be worse as traditional transit is being disrupted with new technology and ridership is tanking.

The transit campaigns, no matter how untimely, had to be orchestrated. They enabled the special interests to demand a new regional transit authority be created conveniently an arms length away from local voters and taxpayers. Taking away local control empowers special interests to advance their regional agenda. According to the Tampa Bay Partnership's Regional Policy Agenda (emphasis mine):
Just as the Tampa Bay Partnership played a key role in passing legislation to repurpose TBARTA, we intend to monitor and influence its actions going forward.In the immediate future, TBARTA will require:
• a strong governing board with private and public sector advocates for regional transit;• a recurring source of funding to support the ongoing operation of regional transit service;• and the implementation of additional statutory reforms, as necessary, to further refine the organizational structure and its authority over regional transit planning.
Yep - Tampa Bay Partnership is "the stakeholder" of influence over TBARTA.

Taxpayers beware! 

Since no funding exists today for TBARTA or any proposed new transit projects, a new revenue source would have to be found to proceed. That is why it is important to watch for policy changes for how TBARTA would be funded long term. Of course, watch for more rounds of transit tax hike referendums in 2020.

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) and TBARTA are the only regional transportation entities that are TRANSIT ONLY transportation entities created by Florida Statute 343 Regional Transportation. Each county served by SFRTA and the State of Florida must ante up money to SFRTA every year.

How has that worked out in South Florida?

After South Florida has spent billions on transit, the Sun Sentinel reported in April:
Planners may be pushing for more buses and trains, but South Florida’s commuters are no longer on board.

Even as the region’s traffic congestion worsens, significantly fewer people are taking public transportation. The reasons include lower gas prices, new ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and an improved economy that makes it easier to afford car payments, insurance and parking costs.

The ridership decline is not what planners anticipated when they began supporting dense, high-rise housing projects. And future technology, such as riderless cars, may pull away even more commuters. 
Greg Stuart, executive director of the organization that coordinates transportation projects in Broward, said planners need to find other creative ways to solve gridlock instead of focusing only on alternatives to cars.

"We’re going to have to work on roadway capacity improvements, (emphasis mine)" he said.
Sun Sentinel reported in June:
An average of 79 percent of South Florida’s commuters drive alone, the census shows. About 3 percent use public transportation. And recent attempts to sway commuters have been ineffective. 
Tri-Rail’s average daily ridership hovers around 15,000 people. 
The population of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties is now over 6.1 million and they have spent wasted gobs of taxpayer money on failed transit projects. Tri-Rail's ridership is .24%, less than a quarter of one percent of the population in South Florida. South Florida taxpayers are stuck paying for costly transit fewer and fewer are using while they continue to grow. 

Learn from their mistakes. Taxpayers in Tampa Bay don't want to end up like South Florida, especially when traditional transit is being disrupted. No one should be trying to take Tampa Bay down such costly path. We cannot afford to keep funding failures.

Taxpayers should also beware that costly fixed guideways is about using taxpayer money for coercive land use and development. In 2013, the Obama Administration made a rule change to integrate affordable housing criteria as part of the evaluation for federal transit grant money. The TBARTA statute states:
The authority shall coordinate and consult with local governments on transit or commuter rail station area plans that provide for compact, mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will support transit investments and provide a variety of workforce housing choices, recognizing the need for housing alternatives for a variety of income ranges [aka subsidized affordable housing]
Gentrification along costly fixed guideway transit corridors requiring subsidized affordable housing is rarely mentioned or part of the discussion when pushing costly fixed guideways. In addition, transit-oriented development that forces high density development around transit stations is also often subsidized and is used to "encourage" transit ridership. Probably most taxpayers are totally unaware but the politicos and those with vested interests and those who will benefit certainly know.

The same special interests stakeholders will be back in Tallahassee next year lobbying for more TBARTA funding and policy changes to create some new long term funding source for TBARTA.

Will Tallahassee heed the reality that transit is being disrupted? 

Will Tallahassee help prevent costly and outdated transit projects or encourage them?Taxpayers should always be considered a stakeholder by those who provide accountability and oversight of the use of taxpayer money.

Or will Tallahassee again oblige the special interests lobbyists?

The future of transportation in Tampa Bay does not need TBARTA. Technology is dispersing innovation not centralizing it. 

2018 is election year providing an opportunity to ask all candidates running where they stand on TBARTA.

And tell the state legislators - instead of funding TBARTA,


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Is the self-driving bus an option for Bay area public transit?

Why would you build a billion-dollar bridge and include a 19th century transit solution?

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

The light-rail lobby is once again poking its nose around the Tampa Bay area with FDOT, including a light-rail path on the proposed new Howard Franklin bridge.

The problem is light rail is a last century technology, environmentally inefficient and single purpose limited. 

For example, take emergency evacuation. Quoting from Sharon Clavert from Eye on Tampa Bay: Drain the Regional "Swamp" Before Its Filled. “Expensive rail systems must shut down days before an approaching hurricane or major storm. Trains can do nothing to help any evacuation effort in Tampa Bay and it takes days or a week or longer after the storm for trains to come back in service.  

Evacuation routes must be considered with any proposed mobility solution in Tampa Bay. If taxpayer big bucks are being spent on transportation in Tampa Bay, it better include accommodating evacuations.”

Would you ride a train across the bay if a storm was coming?

A rail track is a rail track and nothing, but a train can run on it. We will pour millions into a single purpose, decades old, high-cost  solution.

Another solution is well along in development –  The Autonomous bus. Check out Aarian Marshall, Transportation: DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT EVEN BUSES ARE GOING AUTONOMOUS.

A lane or lanes on the new Howard Franklin dedicated to autonomous mass transit vehicles would not only look into the future it would also provide flexibility in those moments when we need it most such as the ever-increasing need for evacuation.

Dedicated roadways and autonomous vehicles make a lot more sense than dedicated rail paths. They allow for more flexibility, Uber like pickup,  smaller stations, less taking of private property, lower overall cost and upkeep. As technology morphs the dedicated roadway can adapt much more easily and inexpensively to new advances.

In the longer view, dedicated interstate and secondary road lanes for autonomous mass transit would meet the salivating needs of the relators and developers who put so much value in transit-oriented  redevelopment.

Let’s not waste the opportunity to solve the Tampa Bay Public Transit problem by taking a big leap into the past and build a bridge with a rail line that will usually be empty when we drive across the bay in our electric cars and automated vehicles while costing a fortune to operate and maintain.

I for one do not want to drive over the “new” Howard Franklin bridge and look out the window of my self driving electric car at rusted rails and dilapidated semaphore signals.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

Please comment below.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fast Track HB13 to Stop Subsidizing Stadiums and the Pay to Play

According to this Floridapolitics.com article, House Bill 13, that bans Florida sports franchises from constructing or renovating facilities on leased public land, is heading to the House floor. It does have a companion bill in the Senate SB352. House Bill 13 is identical to one that passed the House last year but died in the Senate.

The bill will pass the House but will it pass the Senate this time? With all the recent brouhaha going on over wealthy players protesting on their wealthy employers time and dime most often in stadiums paid for by taxpayers, will subsidizing wealthy sports team owners, franchises and players finally become toxic in Florida?

The bill went nowhere last year most probably because Senator Latvala, as the powerful Senate Appropriations Chair, did not want it to. According to Noah Pransky's latest post at his Shadow of the Stadium blog, which we highly recommend you follow, the wealthy sports team franchises love Latvala:
Why do pro teams love Latvala? In addition to his attempts to provide them stadium subsidies, he's also the biggest thing standing in the way of a House push to ban public land giveaways for new stadiums in Florida.
Senator Latvala's PAC is Florida Leadership Committee. As reported by Pransky, the Rays and the Dolphins have handed tens of thousands of dollars to his PAC. From the PAC's last campaign finance reporting the Rays and South Florida Stadium who operates the stadium the Dolphins play in handed Latvala's PAC $10K each on 9/29 and 9/30.
Rays, Dolphins big donors to Latvala
A real eye opener is Latvala's PAC received its largest amount of contributions of any campaign filing period ever this past February. With Latvala in his powerful role as Senate Appropriations Chair, his PAC received over $1 million (the most ever in a single filing period) in February 2017 right before session started. Go here and click the campaign finance activity and select the filing period to review the contributions for that period.

Follow the money….and follow the electeds who are beholden to that money and not you the taxpayer. The special interests give the big bucks to the PACs where there are no limits on their contributions. The special interests are giving the big bucks for a reason - they want something in return. The PACs then contribute to candidates they agree with who will help further their agenda. It's a big circle of money.

Pransky also reported that locally the Rays just gave $50K to Kriseman's Sunrise PAC raising the total to $81,500 that the Rays, the Rays owner Sternberg and Rays' executives have handed St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman. Kriseman faces off with Rick Baker in the St. Pete mayor's general election on November 7th.

What about over in Hillsborough County? Commissioner Hagan, the commission King of County Center who is selfishly refusing to abide by the spirit of term limits in the county charter, is also on the receiving end from the sports team franchisees. 

Hagan has raised a special interests war chest of over $400K dollars for a SINGLE MEMBER District seat. A quick review of donors to his campaign include a thousand dollars each from:
  • Stuart Sternberg, Rays owner
  • Strategic Property Partnership, Vinik
  • Amalie Arena, where Vinik's Lightning and Storm play
  • Tampa Bay Lightning, Vinik
  • Tampa Bay Storm, Vinik
  • Yankee Global Enterprises
  • Robert Dupuy- attorney in NY firm Foley and Lardner, recently was president and COO of Major League Baseball
  • Latvala's Florida Leadership PAC
Those donations are just the tip of the iceberg of Hagan's special interests donor war chest. After 16 years of being a county commissioner and being term limited out of his county seat next year, Hagan thinks he is entitled to 8 more years. Hagan is leap frogging back to a District 2 seat he has already held.

Since the county charter was enacted 34 years ago, no one else has ever done what Hagan is arrogantly and selfishly doing - violating the spirit of the county term limits in the county charter by abusing a loophole. And his donors know it…

For WTSP, Pransky reported on August 23rd about Hagan's idea of handing the Rays the HCSO property in Ybor:
"In his search to find the Rays a new place to play in Tampa's urban core, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan has toyed with the idea of relocating the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office headquarters out of Ybor City to make room for a new stadium."
Providing public land for stadium development could be another possible avenue for taxpayers to subsidize the project. Hagan, who once advocated "no public dollars" be spent on a Rays stadium, has recently said he thought taxpayers should help with the "infrastructure" side of a new stadium.
And voila! More money goes pouring into Hagan's Pay to Play war chest. As Pransky posted on his stadium blog on September 18
"Companies controlled by Darryl Shaw, who has been dubbed "Ybor's big new (development) player," gave $5,000 to Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan last month, according to campaign finance reports. Shaw's wife and a company she controls also each chipped in $1,000, the maximum-allowable donation for the 2018 election.
H/T Noah Pransky
Hagan's Ybor Pay to Play donors

Nothing about how taxpayers would be on the hook for paying for a brand new HCSO HQ facility somewhere - can't let those silly little details get in the way….

Not only is Hagan a leap frogger from one county commission seat to another and back, he's also a flip flopper on the issue of public funding for a stadium.

We posted this expose of Hagan and his tactics back in January 2016 during the Go Hillsborough tax hike debacle.  

At the October 1, 2014 county commission meeting, Hagan stated
At the next BOCC meeting on October 15, 2014, the county commission "quietly" hired the major league baseball law firm Foley and Lardner. They did it egregiously through the use of the Consent Agenda where there is no discussion - just a rubber stamped approval. See above - Foley and Lardner is now one of Hagan's Pay to Play donors.

No wonder Pransky reported for WTSP in August that the county was eyeing federal transit dollars to help pay for a stadium aka Hagan's quest for costly trains and stadiums. 

Hagan and his baseball attorney took the baseball meetings secret and behind closed doors. Hagan likes the Atlanta model for how the Atlanta Braves got a new stadium because all their negotiations were behind closed doors too. 

That new stadium effort was led and shepherded by Cobb County commissioner Tim Lee. 

According to this article in May last year:
Lee cut a deal in secret to give nearly $400 million in tax money to multibillion-dollar conglomerate Liberty Media (AKA the Braves) to get the team to load its gear into moving vans and head north on I-75 to the Smyrna area. Lee even had a code name for the clandestine negotiations with the team — Operation Intrepid — which kind of gives it that Invasion of Normandy feel. 
What summarized the process was a May 2014 meeting where commissioners approved a series of legal agreements with the Braves without serious debate. The bond documents weren’t even made available until one business day before the meeting. 
As an exclamation point — or slap in the face — the 12 slots for public comment at the meeting were gobbled up hours earlier by sneaky pro-deal forces. Complainers were sent packing. The image of citizens getting shut down and marched out of a public meeting by cops doesn’t say Open Government. 
But this is what eventually happened to Tim Lee according to a July 2016 Atlanta Journal Constitution article (emphasis mine):
By the time the first pitch is hurled from the mound of SunTrust Park stadium next spring, the man who lured the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County will be out of office. 
Incumbent Chairman Tim Lee lost his reelection bid Tuesday to challenger Mike Boyce, a retired marine colonel, in a runoff seen by many as a litmus test for support of the deal to bring the Atlanta Braves to Cobb.
Boyce beat Lee, winning 64 percent of the vote, with all precincts reporting.

Once these deals are made, it never ends for taxpayers.

Hagan liked the Atlanta "speedy" process done in secret. Why? Because it enables electeds  to make deals behind closed doors to commit hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to a baseball stadium while prohibiting citizens and voters from appropriately weighing in. 

We bet that Hagan's Pay to Play donors likes the arrogant Atlanta quick and dirty process too but it should scare taxpayers in Hillsborough County. Hagan is being paid to deliver for his special interests - why their bucks are pouring into his Pay to Play campaign.

Beware Hillsborough County taxpayers and stay aware! Who knows what Hagan's going to hit them with when the St. Pete Mayor's race is decided next month.

Hagan does have a challenger who has filed, Chris Paradies, who is a West Point graduate.

So voters in Hillsborough County could do to Hagan next year what Cobb County voters did to Lee and toss him out. 

The continuing pursuit of a new taxpayer subsidized baseball stadium in Tampa Bay is why HB13 needs to be fast tracked and quickly passed by our state legislature next year.

All the Pay to Play to put taxpayers on the hook to subsidize wealthy sports team owners in Florida must stop. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Drain the Regional "Swamp" Before Its Filled

We're being setup AGAIN! 

As we posted here, Senator Latvala unscrupulously used his position as Senate Appropriations Chair to ram his crony TBARTA bill written by special interests thru the state legislature to create a new transit agency "Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority."

While citizens in Tampa Bay never requested another transit bureaucracy, the largest supporter of tax hikes for rail boondoggles Tampa Bay Partnership did. Latvala obliged them by doing a back door end around the local delegations filing theTBARTA bill the weekend before the session started. He ensured the bill did not go through any of the local delegations and intentionally prevented citizens (including his own constituents) from weighing in.

While difficult for everyday citizens to get to Tallahassee, it's very easy for special interests to get there and lobby for their cause, as the Times reported Tampa Bay area business leaders lobby on contentious transit bill
The business delegation included Tampa Bay Lightning owner and developer Jeff Vinik, University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft, Sykes Enterprises CEO Chuck Sykes, Ashley Furniture founder Ron Wanek, influential Tampa attorney Rhea Law and the top Tampa executives of TECO Energy, BlueGrace Logistics, the BayCare Health System, PNC Bank, Vology and Florida Blue.
"It's so important for the legislative delegation from Tampa Bay to come together and support this," said Homans [CEO of Tampa Bay Partnership], "and recognize that transportation is unquestionably the biggest challenge facing the region."
Transportation needs addressing but we do not need another taxpayer funded transit agency to address it. We already fund our local transit agencies and local voters keep rejecting tax hikes for costly transit.

Because they keep losing locally, the special interests were forced to take their quest for costly transit boondoggles regional. The rail cartel needed a new regional bureaucratic "Swamp" to control that would empower them and take away local control.

Once a regional "Swamp" gets a big pot of money and a long term funding source, it becomes almost impossible to drain these Swamps no matter how deceitful, crony or corrupt they become. 

While Governor Scott unfortunately signed Latvala's bill to create the new TBARTA Swamp, he veto'ed their one-time appropriation from the state. 

The cry from the new TBARTA Board at their first meeting in August was TBARTA needs money and where is the money coming from. Hint: it's going to come from you thanks to Senator Latvala and the rail cartel. Watch out next legislative session.

Ray Chiarmonte, TBARTA's Executive Director, stated that TBARTA was established to be the hand off from the $1.5 million taxpayer funded regional premium transit campaign
That is exactly what the Eye predicted. 

But the timing of this regional transit campaign could not be worse.

Trust remains a big issue and all the campaign shenanigans does not help. There is probably less trust today than when transit tax hikes were on the ballot in 2010 and 2014.

Transit ridership is declining while vehicle miles travelled is set to be a record this year. More people are choosing (no coercion needed) to drive and/or use personal vehicles like ride-share than transit.   

Expensive rail systems must shut down days before an approaching hurricane or major storm. Trains can do nothing to help any evacuation effort in Tampa Bay and it takes days or a week or longer after the storm for trains to come back in service.  

Evacuation routes must be considered with any proposed mobility solution in Tampa Bay. If taxpayer big bucks are being spent on transportation in Tampa Bay, it better include accommodating evacuations.

Most importantly, this is a time of disruption for transportation/transit. 

But costly rail/fixed guideways are never about transportation and mobility. They are about land use and development.

The rail cartel cannot help themselves. Special interests want costly fixed guideways because they will greatly benefit from those projects paid for on the backs of the taxpayers. 

This latest taxpayer funded regional transit campaign was so predictable.

Taxpayers keep enriching the same consultants over and over who think the public is stupid.
Slide from Jacobs Engineering who is leading the
Regional Premium Transit Campaign
But these consultants, who operate mostly within their own echo chamber, keep pushing the same costly transit solutions repeatedly rejected by voters. They keep expecting a different outcome. Hmmm…Where's the stupidity?

This transit campaign is part of the regional "Swamp" shenanigans to set us up again for costly transit boondoggles. Rail is toxic in Tampa Bay but the rail cartel is tone deaf and prefers to ignore the will of the people and consent of the governed. 

We anticipate the regional "Swamp" herd will push another round of massive tax hike referendum(s) on voters in 2020 to pick the pockets of taxpayers to pay for their largesse.

But just as Amazon disrupted traditional retail, innovation, new and emerging technologies are disrupting traditional transit.

And the public knows it. 

Tampa Bay is well positioned to optimize and pursue new technology and rapidly emerging transportation innovation because we are not stuck paying for outdated costly rail boondoggles or bogged down yet in a regional "Swamp" bureaucracy.

Let's keep it that way.

Let's drain this regional "Swamp" before it's filled.