ST. PETERSBURG — When I talk to opponents about Greenlight Pinellas, I have heard them say that the plan will hurt the poor. They say the tax swap is “regressive” because of the increase in sales tax, and they complain that the light rail doesn’t serve south county.
I looked into it, because these are not idle concerns, and what I found is that Greenlight Pinellas will help our community’s poorest residents the most, in many ways.
It means our workers will have affordable transportation to work in all parts of the county, especially for those working late shifts and weekends.
It gives our elders and grandmothers raising grandchildren more security for themselves and their children, with well-lighted, safer stops and faster transit.
It means our young people and students can broaden their world, connecting to culture, entertainment, school and career opportunities more readily.
And it means our business people have a better chance to take part in the growing network of commerce, from downtown to Midtown to the beaches.
In concrete terms, if Greenlight Pinellas passes, PSTA expects to increase bus service by 65 percent, including the expansion of trolley and bus service on the 22nd and 16th Street corridors, to the new African American Heritage Trail, and to other corridors.
It will make some 45,000 jobs in the county accessible to south side workers who either don’t have cars or don’t have the gas money to search for and keep a job in mid-county or north-county locations.
All of the above is a benefit to our community; and I believe that what it will cost taxpayers is a wise investment in increasing the strength of our community’s economy.
Unless and until we begin to join hands with diverse groups to invest in new approaches to economic growth, unemployment in our community will remain at unacceptably high levels, like the 19 percent reported by County officials in 2012 for South St. Petersburg.
PSTA officials have already begun to make Greenlight a reality in south St. Petersburg. In addition to adding new bus service to the 22nd Street corridor, PSTA officials worked with 2020 leaders and the Pinellas Opportunity Council to increase youth employment last summer. They plan to do so again in 2015.
Most encouraging, PSTA staff is working with 2020 leaders to ensure that – as new jobs are created and generated by the Greenlight Plan – job seekers in south St. Petersburg will have a direct link to those opportunities, through hiring stations at places like PTEC and the Pinellas County Urban League.
Greenlight has my support for all of the reasons above; and I encourage every voter to take the time to review the Greenlight Pinellas Plan, and learn more about how taxpayers across Pinellas County will share in this new vision.
2 Replies to “Greenlight Pinellas means more opportunities”
You stated: “It means our workers will have affordable transportation to work in all parts of the county, especially for those working late shifts and weekends. ” This does not seem to be true.
1. Why can’t buses provide affordable transportation? If buses provide bad service, shouldn’t we fix that problem first? If PSTA cannot provide you with good bus service, why would their street car system be any better?
2. The basic light rail fee will be $2, and you will have to take a bus (another $1) to get to the streetcar. You will spend more money and more time to get to your destination.
“It means our young people and students can broaden their world..” You mean you can’t broaden your world on a bus?
Rev. Murphy is addressing the BUS side of the vote ONLY. I support the bus part. But this vote is just like the Buc’s stadium in Tampa, where they hooked the new stadium on to the vote for police officer’s, teacher’s and firemen’s pay. Just like that vote should have done – separate the RAIL from the BUSES and I’d support it. BUT the RAIL aspect is going to gobble-up MOST of this new tax’s money. We ALREADY pay a 1 cent tax = “Penny for Pinellas”, so use that money for Pinellas. Why doesn’t the Greenlight fall under the Penny for Pinellas, no one mentions the Penny for Pinellas”.
Per the http://www.pinellascounty.org/penny/ website: “The Penny for Pinellas is a 1 percent sales tax which is dedicated to capital improvement projects in Pinellas County, such as facilities, stormwater improvements, preservation land purchases, roads, bridges, public safety, parks and community centers.”
Isn’t Transportation, Buses and/or Rail, a capital improvement? Don’t TAX us more.
The Rail system will NOT reach the vast majority of people Rev. Murphy is talking about. He does not address the RAIL system AT ALL. That is the 800 pound Gorilla in the room. That is the money pit. That is the part of the vote that will serve hardly any of the Pinellas population and will create some noise and traffic problems, not to mention the homes that will have to be torn down to make room fro the new Right of Way it will need. Rev. Murphy comes across as a paid politician, boosting a boondoggle. WHY? What is his gain in this?