Thursday, November 1, 2018

They Got Caught! It's a Rail Tax That Makes Traffic Congestion Worse

They have been caught.

The exaggerated claims in those glossy mailers hitting voters mailboxes daily from All for Transportation transit hike campaign have been officially debunked.

All for Transportation claims their 30 year $16 Billion tax hike is funding Hillsborough MPO's 2040 long range transportation plan that will fix traffic congestion. They even claim their massive tax hike will cut traffic congestion so much over the next 30 years that you will get home for dinner faster.


All for Transportation was invited by the Hillsborough County Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to speak at the CAC meeting on Monday. We will note that the formal opposition side was not given such courtesy though an opponent did show up at the meeting to make a public comment.

County Administrator Mike Merrill was also at the CAC meeting. Merrill told the CAC Board members that congestion was going to get worse in Hillsborough County even with the additional one percent tax that is a 14% tax increase.

When All for Transportation spokesperson Kevin Thurman presented at the CAC, he was challenged on claims they make about the $16 Billion tax hike fixing traffic congestion. That is the number one point All for Transportation is trying to sell.

Thurman was forced to admit their massive tax hike will not fix congestion. Thurman also had to admit that congestion will get worse over the next 30 years even after taxpayers paid an additional $16 Billion of their hard earned money. Thurman tried to recover by saying the $16 Billion tax hike would reduce the rate at which congestion will get worse.

That's not what All for Transportation claims in their false advertising glossy mailers.

It gets even worse.

Because the MPO has been caught too.

In 2014, the MPO used a one percent tax hike funding scenario for their 20 year 2040 plan. The MPO has tried to make the public believe their 20 year one percent tax hike funding scenario will fix our traffic congestion.


The Eye attended the MPO meeting Tuesday where a presentation was made about performance measures from the 2040 long range transportation plan. The MPO admitted that congestion gets worse with their 2040 one percent funding plan.

The MPO's 2040 plan includes 4 costly Tampa rail projects. Spending billions on costly rail systems does not result in congestion relief especially in a county that is widely dispersed. There is no single large central business district in Hillsborough County and the ridership and density to sustain such costly systems does not exist.

There are not just problems with a massive sales tax hike but there are problem with where those new billions would be spent.

One of the charts presented at the MPO meeting reflects that with their one percent tax hike funding scenario, congestion on arterial roads will get over twice as bad as they are today by 2040. Under the MPO's baseline funding Scenario 1 that uses existing revenues, congestion on arterial roads will get  almost 2.5 times worse as it is today.

With MPO 2040 plan, traffic congestion at least 2X worse

The performance metric includes the assumption that all the projects in the plan are being completed in the expected timeframes. That has not happened.

This chart was taken from the MPO's 2040 plan. Look at the difference in congestion vehicle hours delayed between a one percent tax hike (Scenario 8 with additional billions spent) and no tax hike referendum (Scenario 3). This chart is evidence that voters should reject All for Transportation's massive tax hike.
MPO 2040 plan congestion vehicle hours of delay
based on funding (click to enlarge)
All for Transportation states their 30 year $16 Billion tax hike is funding the MPO's 2040 long range transportation plan. As we stated above, that plan includes funding 4 costly Tampa rail projects. But the MPO plan also includes a billion dollars dedicated to new road capacity over 20 years. The All for Transportation plan includes ZERO funding dedicated to new road capacity over 30 years.

It is expected that 700-800K people will be moving to Hillsborough County over the next 30 years. Most will be going to unincorporated Hillsborough and bringing their cars.

But the All for Transportation $16 Billion tax hike limits and prohibits adding new road capacity in the county for 30 long years. Instead of much needed new road capacity, their massive tax hike mandates, without any ability to make a change, that $7-8 Billion be spent on costly trains and transit.

All for Transportation's $16 Billion tax hike will create a traffic congestion nightmare. Their flawed plan of mandating billions for trains and dedicating nothing to new roads will make traffic congestion exponentially worse in Hillsborough County over 30 years than it is today.

This is why All for Transportation can provide no citation for their exaggerated claims which are simply false.

Janet Scherberger, VP of Governmental Relations for TIA, has sat on the MPO Board as an alternate for Joe Lopano for years. She was at this weeks MPO meeting where the MPO was admitting traffic congestion was getting worse with their own plan.
All for Transportation activist Janet Scherberger
talks with MPO Director Beth Alden at MPO meeting
Scherberger is a transit ally of Kevin Thurman and an activist with All for Transportation working on their campaign. She is a Director of the nonprofit connected to All for Transportation, Keep Hillsborough Moving, Inc.

Scherberger knows better. She talks to Beth Alden, Director of the MPO all the time. Scherberger and Alden know traffic congestion will get worse with All for Transportation's massive tax hike.

Neither of them looked too happy at this meeting as the MPO publicly admitted congestion will get worse with their plan.

It is shameful Scherberger and Alden have enabled and allowed such a charade to be played on taxpayers and voters of Hillsborough County.

All for Transportation has burned through millions of dollars from their billionaire bankrollers on mailers and advertising making false claims about fixing road congestion. Their local media accomplices championed their support of the tax hike with tons of free earned media cheerleading rah rah's.

Voters must not be buying All for Transportation's false claims.

All for Transportation was finally forced to tell the truth.

This latest mailer to their Democrat base admits their tax hike is a $16 Billion rail tax boondoggle.
Mailer from All for Transportation admits
its a rail tax
There is no dedicated funding for road capacity in All for Transportation's massive tax hike because they do not want more roads or added road capacity in Hillsborough County.

The intent of All for Transportation's 30 year $16 Billion tax hike is to force people out of their cars. That is why their tax hike mandates spending $7-8 Billion on costly trains/transit and specifically prohibits any reallocation of those transit funds for 30 years - without going through another referendum.

All for Transportation and the MPO have been caught.

All for Transportation's $16 Billion sales tax hike will makes traffic congestion much worse than it is today.

This massive sales tax hike based on lies should be voted down.

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