Editor: There are many reasons why Pinellas County should not consider light rail between Clearwater and downtown St. Petersburg, a 24 mile route and I will mention a few:
1. Inflated ridership statistics. I notice that buses are mostly or completely empty of passengers. Any increase in ridership at present is due to the vagabonds who come to sunny Florida for the winter.
2. Only 3 percent of residents use public transportation. Why should 97 percent of our residents in Pinellas County pay a 1 percent sales tax increase when they never use public transportation?
If passed, this 1 percent sales tax increase would make Pinellas County the highest taxed county at 8 percent and this would be a disaster for businesses in Pinellas County.
3. Any light rail plan must include Hillsborough County. Many have already stated that it is imperative that Hillsborough County be included in any light rail plan. Since Hillsborough County defeated a referendum in 2010 regarding a sales tax increase for light rail, it would appear that Hillsborough County is not interested in any tax increase for light rail.
4. What happens if light rail fails in Pinellas County? From all indications, if light rail is established and then fails because of economics or other reasons, then Pinellas County must re-pay the government for the government’s investment. Of course, the taxpayers would be stuck, once again.
5. Suggestions: I suggest that PSTA begin by replacing Brad Miller with a competent, experienced manager who is capable of operating PSTA effectively and economically. It is evident that Brad Miller is way over his head in his present job.