A Pinellas County referendum for November, 2014 has been approved by the County Commission. This referendum, if passed by Pinellas voters, will raise our sales tax by 14%, from 7 cents to 8 cents on the dollar, making our sales tax the highest in Florida. If approved, the sales tax increase will generate an additional $110 million in annual revenue for PSTA (the transit agency). But first they must convince the voters! That is where we come in. We must gather our forces to educate our neighbors before they are duped by a slick marketing campaign.
Key points to share with friends:
- If approved, the Pinellas sales tax rate would increase from 7% to 8%, resulting in the HIGHEST sales tax rate in the state, the highest of all 67 counties in Florida.
- The PSTA Greenlight Pinellas train has no connection to Tampa, no connection to North Pinellas, no connection to South St. Petersburg, and no connection to any of our beaches.
- A sales tax hike hurts Pinellas County’s poorest residents, seniors and disabled veterans on fixed incomes, and anyone who rents rather than owns a home most.
- The Greenlight plan would cost us at least $2.8 Billion, with $2.5 Billion (90%) spent on building the train and $300 Million (10%) spent on bus service expansion.
- The sales tax hike would generate $110 Million per year in new revenue for PSTA, with no guarantee the train would ever get built, and no expiration on the tax hike.
- The proposed train would cross through 41 intersections at 15 minute intervals, increasing traffic congestion and commute times.
- The Greenlight plan includes taking existing traffic lanes and making them bus-only.
- The Greenlight plan requires that PSTA obtain property via eminent domain. Better hope your home and business isn’t in the path of the train!
Light rail does not reduce congestion – see here and also this Washington Post article.
Light rail does not create economic growth – a 2005 scholarly report paid for by the Federal Transit Administration concluded that “urban rail transit investments rarely ‘create’ new growth, but more typically redistribute growth that would have taken place without the investment.” See Cervero & Seskin, 3rd page, 3rd column.
Interview with Board Member of the Denver Regional Transportation District
This past weekend several No Tax for Tracks members and supporters spent their own money to attend the 10th annual meeting of the American Dream Coalition meeting in Denver to discuss transportation and land use issues. We toured the Fast Tracks rail project that goes from downtown Denver to Golden, a 12 mile track. The referendum was passed in 2004 and opened just 16 months ago. We arrived for the tour on Friday morning and pictures will be posted throughout this week on this page. But let’s start with an interview with Natalie Menten, Board member of the Denver Regional Transportation District, and her message to the voters of Pinellas County. Vote No on Greenlight and tell your friends also!
Let’s Nip this in the Bud!