Here Comes That Train Again
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First, a history lesson. Three years ago, advocates spent over $1.5 million in an effort to gain support for a transportation referendum that included light rail. The nay-sayers raised a paltry $24,000. The referendum was crushingly defeated. Second, a reality check. PSTA, which includes buses and trollies, operates on an infrastructure already in place. Because its vehicles run on roads, its schedules and routes are flexible. Yet PSTA has poor ridership and is, in effect, a cash sewer. Yet given the history of light rail and present-day reality, along comes Greenlight Pinellas for another run at the public trough for light rail. Their rationale? Well, voters who overwhelmingly rejected the 2010 referendum simply were too stupid to vote for it. They have begun a campaign to educate us on the need to cough up the bucks to fund a choo-choo. What's next? A ferry system? After all, New York has the Staten Island ferry. Even Jacksonville has a ferry. If this region is ever to become a top-tier city, we will have to establish a network of ferries. Perhaps one connecting Gulfport with Isla del Sol. Or one connecting St Pete to Apollo Beach. It's not enough that we have a cruise port, a world-class international airport, facilities that have hosted national political conventions, Super Bowls, NCAA tournaments, A-list concerts, first-rate museums, etc, etc. We just cannot hope to be a major metroplex without a ferry system! Trust me--you won't know what economic pain is until you undertake light rail. Cost overruns, construction delays, exorbitant maintenance costs, eternal and ever-increasing subsidies, and for what? Is this for what Greenlight Pinellas expects us to vote? Seriously? We voters don't need to be educated. We know what we'll be getting. What Greenlight needs is to get the message. Related Articles
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