Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 23: Petition Drive Needed For Public Transportation in South Florida

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.

No comments: