Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Pasco road plan falls short

A rushed plan to build a privately owned, elevated toll road in southern Pasco County is off the fast track amid logical questions about its long-term impact on a community trying to better establish its own identity. That's progress, and Department of Transportation officials shouldn't consider any new plans that don't address mass transit and other concerns.

Earlier this year, International Infrastructure Partners' unsolicited proposal to build and operate an elevated toll road along the State Road 54/56 corridor triggered a DOT request for similar proposals. But the group, citing an unfavorable political climate, withdrew its plan and obtained a deadline extension to December. The partnership's wise move came two weeks after representatives from the Urban Land Institute, hired by the county to provide long-term planning advice, suggested the overhead highway would be counterproductive to Pasco's desire to create a sense of place along the corridor, including more urban residential settings and pedestrian-friendly amenities.

The land institute's recommendation draws on recent history in some other areas around the country where elevated lanes are considered unsightly barriers that disconnect communities. The controversy is also reminiscent of an earlier one in central Pasco and northern Hillsborough when residents and business owners successfully argued that a proposed limited-access state parkway along State Road 54 would damage the sense of community in Land O'Lakes and Lutz.

Also problematic is that the development group's original proposal did not accommodate mass transit. It would add four highway lanes from U.S. 19 to Interstate 75 and eventually eastward toward Zephyrhills, but has no provisions for express buses or other mass transit options. Such profit-driven planning would capitalize on motorists' willingness to pay a premium for a less-congested route but would do little to ensure that as Pasco grows it also improves.

Mass transit must be part of the equation. Re-evaluating the appropriateness of a private, elevated toll road — and its effect on the long-term quality of life in Pasco County — is equally important.

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Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17