Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: DOT bungling on I-275

The Florida Department of Transportation royally botched road work on Interstate 275 over the weekend. The massive traffic jam from a resurfacing job was inexcusable, and the DOT should prevent another such safety threat and inconvenience from happening again. This may be what happens in a region with huge highway projects and few mass transit options, but the government still has a responsibility to manage the assets it has better than this.

Traffic backed up for miles Sunday as motorists heading into Tampa across the Howard Frankland Bridge faced bumper-to-bumper traffic. The DOT had authorized contractors Skanska/Ajax to spend 11 hours late Saturday and early Sunday realigning and paving lanes in the northbound direction. But contractors didn't have enough trucks carrying materials to the site, the DOT said, or the trucks ran late. The DOT also said its 11-hour window to complete the job might have been unrealistic.

These are weak excuses for a mess that carried into Monday. The DOT should have ensured the contractors were prepared before closing the lanes. This is a major interstate serving millions across the region, and a critical coastal evacuation route. It's one thing to inconvenience motorists with unforeseen problems. But paving is routine. And the state should have factored in the effect that the usual high speeds on the interstate would have on the new asphalt. The foul-up here looks like a breakdown in planning and logistics.

The backups are a painful reminder of how far this region has fallen behind in building a modern transportation system. But that doesn't excuse the DOT and the contractors, who have tested the patience of motorists with a project that was behind schedule as of last month and is not due to be completed until fall 2016. This interstate work is not happening in a vacuum; the traffic impacts are being felt on the Gandy Bridge and into Pinellas County, too. The DOT is in charge, and the department needs to get it right.

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Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

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Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

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Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Correction

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Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

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For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
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