Monday, February 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Miami shows way on cross-bay rail

Area leaders frustrated by the construction tie-ups on the Howard Frankland Bridge should look at the excitement in Miami. Last week, the mayors of Miami-Dade, Miami and Miami Beach embraced the concept of connecting downtown Miami and Miami Beach with light rail, marking another step for the megacity in developing a world-class economy, tourism market and quality of life. The Tampa Bay region should be as bold and cooperative in pursuing a plan and a timetable for rail across the bay.

The meeting in Miami was the second since January at which officials discussed a rail link over Biscayne Bay. The mayors moved quickly, agreeing to partner to find $3 million to pay for an early study that could lead to design and development plans. The local governments are looking to contribute $250,000 apiece, with the balance coming from state and federal grants.

The idea of connecting Miami Beach and downtown by rail is nothing new. Neither is the similar goal of connecting Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. That idea got a kick-start recently after Florida's Department of Transportation agreed to spend roughly $25 million to build an underpinning for rail on the structural support of the planned new northbound span of the Howard Frankland. That at least would put the supports for rail in place. But the difference is that officials in Miami are spending time and money to get their dreams moving, working together and signaling to the state and federal governments that the local governments are committed partners in this big-ticket project.

Pinellas has an opportunity to move the needle with the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum in November. Hillsborough is laying the groundwork for another transit referendum after the first one failed in 2010. For both counties to begin building a modern transit system that bridges the bay, a new source of dedicated revenue is essential. Yet neither side has managed to make regional connectivity a front-burner issue even amid the Pinellas vote, the transit talks in Hillsborough or DOT's pledge of $25 million toward cross-bay rail.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has struck a delicate balance by encouraging Greenlight in Pinellas without being overbearing or intrusive. But as the election nears, and as Hillsborough brings its own plan to the decisionmaking stage, officials will need to talk more about how a transit system could benefit both sides of the bay. That should at least involve members of the Pinellas and Hillsborough county commissions and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

The mayors in Miami realize that traffic patterns matter more than political boundaries. And they accept that local governments must eventually invest in planning and promoting transit projects even if construction is years away and involves state and federal governments.

In Tampa Bay, regional leaders face the same dynamics, with tens of thousands of commuters crossing bay area bridges to work every day. Local officials need a transit plan that reflects reality, improves mobility throughout the region and makes the entire area more competitive. If Miami and its neighbors can figure it out, so can Tampa Bay.

Comments
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18
Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Raysí selection of an Ybor City site near Tampaís Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball. Now comes the hard work of de...
Published: 02/09/18
Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, itís little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded w...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/13/18