By Sylvia Gurinsky
Last week's "Dump the Pump Day" in South Florida was seriocomic.
Commuters left behind their cars and rising gas prices for the alternatives of Tri-Rail and bus systems. They opted for a regional rail system that might not be there in a year and buses that might be severely cut back.
Shouldn't that say something to local and state elected officials?
I wrote previously about the threat Tri-Rail is under:
It's been almost two months since that vote, and practically no one has stepped up to say, "Let's find a dedicated funding source for commuter rail in Florida." Members of South Florida's congressional delegation did send a letter to Florida's Department of Transportation, according to Bizjournals.com.
Other than that, there's been silence. "Dump the Pump Day" would have been a good time for an elected official or a few with brains and guts to say, "Here's what we should do." So far, nothing.
Here's what someone should do: Draft a plan creating or maintaining regional rail and public transportation systems across Florida for those who want and need them. Come up with a funding plan - the $2 surcharge on rental cars isn't a bad one. Put it on a future state ballot by petition and let voters decide its fate.
Once, Florida voters said yes to a bullet train until they realized the financial and logistical folly of such a plan. Regional rail and public transportation systems are not folly. They're needed. They need funding. They need support.
It's time to make sure those who "Dump the Pump" have a reason to do so.