Monday, November 5, 2018

Confirmed! $16 Billion Rail Tax Never Intended for New Road Capacity

Former County Commissioner Mark Sharpe is now a spokesperson for the $16 Billion rail tax sending text messages in support of the massive tax hike. He helped lead the 2010 rail tax boondoggle that was overwhelmingly defeated 58-42%.

Sharpe was challenged on Facebook recently about All For Transportation's (AFT) rail tax hike not including any dedicated funding for new road capacity. He tried dancing around but finally admits:

Sharpe is not an engineer or a transportation expert but he and AFT (who also are not engineers or transportation experts) do not think that adding new road capacity reduces congestion. Sharpe and AFT think intersection improvements, turn lanes and roundabouts will fix congestion even when the population of Hillsborough is expected to grow by 50% (700-800K) over the next 30 years.

We doubt most people agree with such ideology. That is why AFT has had to spend millions on a deceptive marketing campaign falsely claiming their rail tax is going to fix traffic congestion.

Sharpe simply confirms that AFT intentionally left out dedicating any funding to new road capacity for 30 long years in their $16 Billion rail tax hike.

That is why All for Transportation activist Christina Barker does not mention new roads or road widening when she spoke recently about the tax.

Barker was one of the "few" who wrote the charter amendment over drinks. Her thinking while drinking resulted in a 30 year $16 Billion tax hike with no money dedicated to new road capacity.

Maybe Sharpe was one of those few thinking while drinking who helped write the egregious tax hike plan.

As a commissioner, Sharpe was on the MPO and knows there was a BILLION dollars dedicated to new road capacity in the 2040 long range plan over 20 years.

With the Sharpe/AFT logic, we don't need additional lane capacity added to our interstates, the Howard Frankland Bridge or any failed road in Hillsborough County.

We doubt those in New Tampa agree with their ideology. Widening Bruce B Downs has had a major impact on reducing traffic congestion in New Tampa.

Under the Sharpe/AFT mandates, congested roads like Bruce B. Downs do not get widened -  they just need some intersection improvements. Tell that to South County.

The ideology of Sharpe and AFT is don't build new roads or widen roads because people will use them.

That's right - don't build what most people use and want.

Sharpe prefers the dictates of the AFT strict mandates that forces taxpayers to spend $7-8 billion on costly transit and four Tampa rail systems that few in Hillsborough County will use. Those Tampa rail projects will be paid for courtesy of taxpayers in unincorporated Hillsborough where over 2/3 of the population of the county resides.

For one who touts innovation, Sharpe is stuck in the past supporting outdated and very costly 19th century rail.

Costly rail is the real culprit that does nothing to relieve congestion - not road widening.

And AFT's plan that does not dedicate funding for new road capacity for 30 years will create more failed roads.
Failed Roads in Hillsborough County
Sharpe knows rail is about land use not mobility.

Rail is about land use that will increase the value of certain properties in the city of Tampa. That is why Jeff Vinik has funded this rail tax effort and has dumped at least a million dollars into AFT's rail tax deceptive campaign.

Sharpe's nonprofit Tampa Innovation Alliance knows that their Innovation District will benefit financially with this rail tax on the backs of taxpayers.

But Sharpe lives in Colorado now. He does not live in Tampa Bay or even in the state of Florida anymore.

Sharpe won't be impacted by the massive tax hike for 30 years or the gridlock this rail tax will create.

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