Monday, September 30, 2019

Yet Another Misleading Survey from the MPOs

ABC Action News recently published a gushing article on the success of he latest Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco joint MPO transportation plan survey.
The latest It’s TIME Tampa Bay survey reveals commuters are looking for rapid transit service to get to and from work as well as expanded streetcar access.
Survey results will help the three Metropolitan Planning Organizations create the very first tri-county Long-Range Transportation Plan for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. The It’s TIME Tampa Bay survey was the most successful MetroQuest survey in the United States ever, according to the survey website.
Yet this "survey" is seriously flawed, clearly intended to drive an agenda rather than seek to understand the transportation and mobility needs of Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

FDOT Public Hearing on I-275 in St. Petersburg

The Florida Department of Transportation held a public hearing for the planned improvements of I-275 in Pinellas County on September 24, 2019. Details of the plans can be found here, which encompass improvements to I-275 from 54th Avenue South north to 4th Street North in Pinellas County. This was the public hearing for review and comment for the Project Development and Environmental (PD&E) study conducted for the 16.3 mile corridor. Operational improvements, location, design, social, economic and environment impacts of the improvements were analyzed in the study.

I-275 Study Corridor

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Commissioners Pursue Ordinance To Shut Down Funding of New Roads To Fund Rail

Some Hillsborough County commissioners want to implement the "will of All for Transportation" by reinstating the All for Transportation (AFT) spending mandates thrown out by a judge,

The four county commissioners pursuing this action are those who supported the $16 Billion onerous and burdensome AFT transit tax - Les Miller, Pat Kemp, Kimberly Overman and Mariella Smith.

These four commissioners want to rush action to reinstate AFT's pre-determined spending allocations and funding prohibitions thru a county ordinance. They know all the legal issues have not been resolved.

But they scheduled a public hearing anyway for their proposed ordinance at tomorrow's September 18, 2019 BOCC meeting at 10am.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

PSTA Hosts Central Avenue BRT "Open House" at S Pasadena

The Eye headed to S Pasadena on Wednesday, September 11th, where PSTA hosted an Open House for their proposed $45.6 million Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

We captured a few interviews from St Pete Beach Mayor Al Johnson, a S Pasadena business owner whose business is being impacted by this project and a S Pasadena resident.

Watch the interviews after the break - there is some background noise.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

AFT Spokesperson/Vinik Employee Christina Barker Cited in FL Senate Brief

As reported, a Circuit Court Judge threw out major portions of All for Transportation's transit tax, including their mandated spending allocations, as illegal and unlawful. The judge, who is elected and will probably run again, split the baby and left the tax itself still standing.

Numerous appeals have been filed to the Florida Supreme Court. The appeals include those filed by All for Transportation according to this Times article.

Since the legal appeals were filed, the Florida House and Florida Senate have filed amicus curiae briefs with the Florida Supreme Court requesting the Court to strike the entire All for Transportation charter amendment including the tax.

The Florida House and Senate amicus curiae briefs can be found here and here.

The Senate brief states they are joining the brief filed by the House and also states (we included link to Times article referenced):
On September 4, 2019 the Tampa Bay Times published an article that was entitled Hillsborough's transportation tax has a new opponent: the Florida House.  
The article included the following quote from the organizer for All for Transportation, Christina Barker, the sponsor of the referendum at issue in this case: “Hillsborough County voters exercised a right that the Florida Legislature gave them. The fact that this is being walked back now is incredibly disappointing.”

The Senate wishes to appear in this case as an additional amicus curiae and join in the House brief in order to clarify that both Chambers of the Legislature support the House’s position stated therein. The Legislature is united in seeking a proper interpretation and enforcement of section 212.055, Florida Statutes, and in opposing an expansion of the severability doctrine to include local exercises of legislatively delegated non-ad valorem taxation authority.

The Senate agrees with and supports the House position, which respects and protects the voters. Unlawful referendums that do not follow the clear procedures laid out by statute should not be judicially repaired by the trial court. The result reached by the trial court ignores the premise upon which voters may have supported the referendum, namely how the transportation tax would be administered.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Paying the Baseball Lawyer: A Spending Black Hole Benefitting Private Interests?

How much money has been paid to the expensive New York baseball lawyer for Hillsborough county's pursuit of a new Rays baseball stadium?
Irwin Raij
Baseball lawyer contracted to pursue new Rays stadium
There has never been a transparent discussion publicly disclosing the cost of the baseball lawyer or the total costs associated with Hillsborough County pursuing a new stadium. What exactly have taxpayers been paying for?