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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Harris, Roche break on light rail in Pinellas



EAST LAKE -- Pinellas County Commissioner Calvin Harris calls it a vision for the future. Rival Norm Roche suggests it's really just pie in the sky.

The topic: light rail. At an election forum Monday night, Harris supported building a light rail system in Pinellas. Roche scoffed.

"I'm not a big proponent of building light rail," Roche said. "We can't seem to run a functioning bus system and yet we want to build light rail?"

Roche, a Republican making his fourth bid to make the board, suggested the train system would be heavily subsidized by non-ridership revenue (not mentioning that so are most roads). Harris didn't delve into the details of cost.

"If you've driven McMullen-Booth Road in the morning or afternoon, you'd know we need a modern transportation system," said Harris, a Democrat and commissioner since 1997.

"We have to start thinking for the future. We have to plan a future for our kids that is better than this," Harris told the crowd in East Lake.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 11:22am]


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