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Letters: U.S. 19 isn't the problem; light rail isn't the answer

Re: Fearmongers long for horse-and-buggy days | Daniel Ruth column, March 30

U.S. 19 isn't so bad

I agree with Daniel Ruth that we need to upgrade our mass transit system here. I wholeheartedly disagree about the proposed Clearwater/St. Pete light-rail line, though. When all the bridges over the intersections on U.S. 19 are completed, that road will be smooth sailing. It's not all that bad now, with the exception of the junctions that carry commuters and visitors to and from Tampa. We taxpayers have spent a tremendous amount of money on the U.S. 19 upgrades and I suggest that Mr. Ruth get out more. That road isn't even close to the congestion level that is common in the United States today.

Ulmerton Road reaches that horrible congestion level, however. This is not surprising since it is a main connector to Tampa and north Pinellas County from I-275. Improvements to help traffic flow are already obsolete before they're finished. I wonder if the Times will ever address the real traffic problems we have, including the major one of getting us back and forth across the bay.

We need to look into extending the Tampa International Airport People Mover across the bay to the Gateway/Ulmerton Road area. Elevated rail bridges are much less costly to build over water than the old fashioned urban rail trains. A very slight gas tax for all the counties in Tampa Bay could fund the first and most important upgrade to our region. It could fund an elevated rail from Gateway in Pinellas to the stadium district in Tampa, with a stop at TIA. This route is one that most everyone in the region uses.

Raising taxes for a road that has decent traffic flow will use up the precious and scarce public money there is today. If the Greenlight rail proposal is anything like the Tri-Rail in South Florida, there will be continual cost increases and calls for more taxes to operate a rail line that won't really cater to our visitors. Getting visitors back and forth on the bay will cater to our visitors.

Jeannie Cline, St. Petersburg

A light-rail eyesore

I take offense to you implying that my opinion of raising our taxes in this time of financial hardship for most low to middle income families is equivalent to trying to keep my community in gas-fumed, snarling-traffic-bound dark ages.

I'd like to remind you that this light-rail system has been tried before, resulting in nothing more than a big money sinkhole at taxpayers' expense. I'm making references to the rail system from Miami to the Fort Lauderdale area. It's an eyesore, dangerous monstrosity.

If you would like to pick up the extra cost of this new proposed tax on the behalf of myself and other struggling families, I'll be more than happy to support this idea after we have come to a written agreement.

Until then, do not belittle people who are trying to be fiscally conservative and live within their means.

Bobbi Mahoney, St. Petersburg

Doesn't add up

As usual, Mr. Ruth sides with the "powers that be (his Editorial boss) and calls tax increase opponents "fearmongers." Mr. Ruth, with all due respect, if you think thousands will use this light-rail daily, and the roads will mysteriously clear up, I want some of what you're taking. Truth is the millions and millions it will take to build and maintain are simply not there. Even if they raise the sales tax to 8 percent, which will not happen (see Hillsborough County), there simply will not be sufficient revenue to pay for the project, let alone maintain it. Your paper seldom prints the voices (fearmongers, as you label taxpayers) of dissent.

John Evans, St. Petersburg

Re: St. Petersburg Grand Prix

Publish the brands

A great event can be even greater! People purchase tickets to watch racing after knowing what/who the entries are. If the entry list were not published, then many would not attend.

There are race cars where the people follow the drivers, there are cars where the fans follow the brand and there are cars with upcoming young drivers, which are fun to watch, but with little following. Finally there are races such as the trucks racing over ramps, which everyone enjoys.

In the prerace advertising and stories, include the brands that fans will follow. Many do not know what World Challenge is, but they do know Ford, Porsche, Cadillac, McLaren, Ferrari, Dodge, Kia, Lamborghini, Audi, Nissan, BMW and Chevrolet.

Without this information in the newspaper, fans are driven to the Internet to gain the information they want, but the Internet does not come to them like the newspaper does. Once one pays, goes into the race, there are no handouts in which the entries are published except for the Indy Cars.

Page Obenshain, St. Petersburg

Why no recycling?

The issue I had while attending the Grand Prix can be summed up in one word: recycle. Following an event such as that I can assume there would be tons of recycled bottles and cans. However, I walked pretty much the entire course and did not see one receptacle for recycled products. Disappointing to see the city of St. Pete hold such a large event, and by my experience it was very well run, yet fail to incorporate something as simple as the ability to insert plastic/aluminum products in a bin that would end up elsewhere beyond the local landfill.

Robert Kavanaugh, Bradenton

Share your opinions

Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or through our website at: They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number.

Letters: U.S. 19 isn't the problem; light rail isn't the answer 04/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 2:10pm]
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