Thursday, May 8, 2008

May 8: Note to South Florida electeds: Wise up on public transportation

By Sylvia Gurinsky

This isn't what supporters of public transportation in South Florida had in mind when they were campaigning for regional cooperation.

All Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties seem to be cooperating on these days is their efforts to scale back contributions toward Tri-Rail. Miami Today has reported the Federal Transit Administration could sue the three counties and the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority if money and routes are cut:

The excuse of elected leaders in the three counties seems to be that the Florida Legislature didn't do its share for Tri-Rail. No, it didn't. But that's no excuse for local governments to shirk their duties to taxpayers and members of the public who ride the rails.

Those numbers are increasing, by the way, with each price hike at the gasoline pump.

So are the numbers of riders on public buses, but that's not stopping the Miami-Dade County Commission from not going the extra mile, so to speak. Most have voted to eliminate or cut back on 16 routes that don't get enough riders, according to the county.

It may cost the county more to fight potential lawsuits over the lost routes than it will save by cutting them. It may cost commissioners their political futures, too, at a time they really need to show their commitment to improved public transportation.

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