Saturday, March 7, 2020

With $16 Billion AFT Transit Tax There's No New Road Capacity Planned for 38 New Schools in Hillsborough County

All for Transportation (AFT) never told voters their new $16 BILLION transit tax will not fund needed increased road capacity for any of the new schools planned in Hillsborough County.

But the central planning bureaucrats at the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) did know and they said nothing in 2018. The MPO transportation planners never informed the voting public of this huge transportation issue. 

The MPO proceeded to create their federally mandated 2045 Long Range Transportation (LRTP) plan last year using AFT's $16 Billion transit tax. The MPO also used AFT's mandated spending percentages and prohibitions on funding new road capacity. 

With AFT's $16 Billion transit tax, the MPO's 20 year transportation plan funds only 5 new local road capacity projects. That is about 1 mile per year of new road capacity built over the 20 years when it is estimated 600K or more will be moving to Hillsborough County and most of them will probably be bringing their cars.
With $16 Billion AFT transit tax, only 5 local road capacity projects
are funded in Hillsborough MPO 2045 LRTP
As we have been reporting over the last several years, the Hillsborough MPO has been barreling out of control. The MPO is now totally out of control because the anti-car brigade not only runs the MPO's bureaucracy, the anti-car brigade ideology took over the MPO's governing Board.

While the 20 year 2045 LRTP funds less than $600 million of road capacity projects, it funds almost $2 Billion of costly rail projects. No wonder traffic congestion gets worse under the MPO's 2045 plan as time stuck in traffic increases by 295%. Proof again that AFT is a $16 Billion transit tax.

The result of the MPO focusing their time and attention on "More Rail and Less Roads" while neglecting the issue of traffic congestion is coming home to roost. 

At the very beginning of the 2045 LRTP document, the MPO claims they worked with these Partner organizations, including the County, the Cities and the School Board, to create their plan.

Also at the beginning of the LRTP document, the MPO claims:
The Hillsborough MPO serves as a forum for building consensus and facilitating discussions on how to best prioritize transportation dollars in our county.
We posted here the MPO's 2045 long range transportation plan was a long range congestion creation plan.

And the last Hillsborough MPO meeting confirmed that. 

Hillsborough taxpayers and residents should take 15 minutes to watch this clip from the March 3rd MPO Meeting. The MPO's School Board member Cindy Stuart raises the huge issue there are NO plans for new road capacity and road widening for all the new schools  planned to be built in Hillsborough County.

Net-Net of what Stuart states:
  • A new school is opening in August 2020 on Balm Rd., a two lane road in a South County neighborhood with only one way in and out. This new school maxes out with 3000 students on the day the brand new school opens. There are no plans for improving and widening the two lane road where the school is being built. Stuart states this will cause another FishHawk transportation congestion nightmare.
  • The School Board has 38 new schools planned over the next 15 years, 20 of those planned in fast growing South County. 
  • There are no transportation plans for the road widening and new road capacity needed for any of the planned new schools.
It was only recently that a School Board member became a member of the MPO Board. The MPO made this announcement when Cindy Stuart joined in 2015 stating (emphasis mine):
The MPO is excited to welcome Cindy Stuart as its newest board member representing the School District of Hillsborough County. Transportation is a big issue for Hillsborough County Schools. The District transports 94,000 students on a fleet of 1,400 buses! With other agencies operating major modes of transportation represented on the MPO, it only made sense to include the 8th largest school district in the United States.
That was then, this is now - with the anti-car brigade in full reign over the entire MPO.

No other local public official except Commissioner White raised the warning flag in 2018. He was the only local elected official who warned there is no funding for new road capacity with AFT's 30 year $16 Billion transit tax. White also warned that AFT's transit tax specifically prohibits funding for new roads.

In the MPO's 2040 LRTP just five years ago, the MPO stated they needed only $16 million over 20 years to do their federally mandated planning. 

AFT forces taxpayers to hand the central planners at the MPO $160 million of new AFT tax proceeds to bloat their bureaucracy. No wonder the MPO said nothing in 2018. They are complicit with creating the big congestion creation plan because they were bought off by AFT.

Five of the seven Hillsborough County Commissioners (Miller, Kemp, Hagan, Smith and Overman) sit on the Hillsborough MPO Board. 

Miller has been Chair of the MPO for years and has been Chair of the County Commission the last 2 years. He is term limited in November. 

Miller and his fellow Democrat commissioners Kemp, Smith and Overman are leaders of the MPO's reigning anti-car brigade. They support AFT's absurd spending mandates that prohibits funding new road capacity that will create more FishHawk transportation nightmares throughout Hillsborough County. 

If such incompetence and/or willful neglect occurred in the private sector, people would be fired.

The sixteen member Hillsborough MPO Board consists of eleven elected officials.

Voters can start deciding their fate beginning this November.

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