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Hernando County budget committee member says views on mass transit were misrepresented

Inadequate mass transit would truly cost county April 12 column

Transit system views distorted

It appears that I am now the villain of the discussion on the failed mass transit system in this county, according to the Hernando Times.

The lead to C.T. Bowen's editorial column attempted to give everyone the impression that "I just don't get it" when it comes to the importance of TBARTA and the continuation of mass transit in Hernando County.

This obvious misrepresentation of the truth by the Hernando Times editorial staff could only be explained in one way. It is obvious they are truly looking for a villain to crucify by intentionally misrepresenting the facts brought out in our meeting.

Here are a few facts that the Hernando Times side-stepped in their original reporting of this meeting.

I specifically stated that saving the bus system was vital to mass transit dollars, from the state and the federal government, for our local transportation needs in the county.

I suggested the county look into a private-public partnership with local business to increase bus ridership. With this method, I proposed a park-and-ride system with local business to move workers to and from work, stationed at central locations throughout the county. I was not given credit for these suggestions by the reporter in the original article.

I suggested the county reduce its current fixed-rate schedule to running the buses every two hours. This would save the county $420,000 annually. With this reduction in service over the next year, I suggested the county partner with business to make the bus system work more efficiently for everyone.

Yes, I strongly opposed taking five buses through the federal economic stimulus package. The funding for these five buses would put our county in a 10-year, 350,000-mile commitment per bus.

I also strongly opposed using federal dollars to rehabilitate the existing fleet of buses, which would put our county into another seven-year commitment to the federal government. By the way, the average mileage on the current bus fleet is 150,000 miles, which is a long way from being on the endangered species list for derelict buses.

I suggested the county apply dollars from the $420,000 for the rehabilitation of the current bus fleet and work on resolving issues of ridership that have plagued the system since 2001. The county could rehab all the buses, using local money, and still save dollars over the next year without being encumbered by a seven- to 10-year federal commitment.

I believe the majority of citizens in this county agree the current system does not work effectively in its condition. On that premise, why would anyone consider giving the county officials another 10 years to practice making the THE Bus work on the taxpayer's dime?

I am a volunteer committee member in this county, not an elected official. The photograph you chose to run by my comment was not only unnecessary, but I believe it was done intentionally to crucify me, the messenger.

I shouldn't be surprised by your yellow journalism tactics since your paper didn't even bother to properly attribute the facts in the original article. Maybe this is why the print media in this country is failing, because readers are tired of being politically manipulated by editorial-writer opinions on the front page.

Anna Liisa Covell, Nobleton

Thanks given to county fair board

Our family would like to thank the Hernando County Fair Association for raising the American flag in honor of Jeffrey M. Johnston during the opening ceremony.

My husband, a retired Army master sergeant , volunteered in 1966, retired in 1986, and continued his volunteering in many areas after retirement; he was a member of the fair association for many years, attending meetings and volunteering in some capacity during the annual fair. We would like to thank all for the kind words spoken. If there is an organization that shows its appreciation for its volunteers and members, past and present, it is this group of fine people that make up the fair board and its members. This community is blessed to have such a fine group pull together such a tremendous task each year.

Our thanks go to the Hernando High Jr. ROTC for participating, as Jeffrey was an Army recruiter in his final years of service. He met many young men and women with interest in our United States military, I know he was smiling upon the fine young ladies that took part.

Our thanks also to all who attended. Your thoughts and prayers for us in our loss of husband and father are deeply appreciated. Your support over the last 10 months has helped us.

Stacy Johnston, Spring Hill

Hernando County budget committee member says views on mass transit were misrepresented 04/13/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 13, 2009 7:52pm]
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