A long way to go | Feb. 19
'Roads first' is the wrong route
Recent heartfelt statements by Hillsborough County commissioners sound as if they really are trying to fund public transportation. But when $98.8 million of new money was allocated in July 2015, zero went to public transit. Last October, $600 million was earmarked for transportation but went to roads only. And now, with an additional $212 million, there's still no funding for public transportation.
There has never existed an efficient, effective metropolitan transportation system without a vigorous public transportation component. No amount of money can cure our road congestion if it is spent only on roads.
If we persist in a "roads first" solution, we will never fund public transportation because "roads first" will never succeed. Congestion will continue to escalate until we have a vigorous, modern public transportation system in place.
Kent Bailey, chair, Tampa Bay Sierra Club, Tampa
Why should Tampa Bay rank last in transit? Feb. 26, editorial
Transit saves lives, money
Tampa Bay's woefully underfunded transit system doesn't just limit access to jobs and education in the region. It also contributes to our notoriously unsafe streets.
Public transit is 10 times safer per mile than driving, and communities that effectively promote and fund transit are about five times safer than automobile-oriented communities ("The hidden traffic safety solution: public transit," American Public Transportation Association, September 2016). That could mean 30 fewer lives lost already this year in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Our safety problem is costly. Car crashes cost Pinellas County more than $1.5 billion every year, according to Forward Pinellas — nearly seven times the projected annual cost of the unsuccessful Greenlight Pinellas transit initiative that would have constructed $2.2 billion in transit improvements over 10 years. Investing in transit could even save us money by reducing crashes.
Improving transit access would not only boost our region's economy; it would also save lives. How much is that worth?
Lisa Frank, campaign organizer, Florida Consumer Action Network, St. Petersburg
In harm's way | Feb. 26-28
Gun safety isn't partisan
Kudos to Kathleen McGrory for her insightful series. When I read these articles I was saddened by the tragic loss of lives, the horrific injuries and the crippling medical expenses incurred by the preventable events she reported.
Gun safety should be a nonpartisan issue. Legislators need to get past the politics and do the right thing for our children. If a home with children is not "gun-free," then the guns must be inaccessible to our children. Gun safes and trigger locks are effective measures to keep our youngsters safe.
Criminal penalties must be severe enough to provide the motivation, when common sense does not prevail, for gun owners to properly secure their guns when children are in their homes. I strongly urge the passage of SB 142/HB 835 to help prevent further tragic gun deaths and injuries by requiring the use of trigger locks and gun safes.
Gene Pizzo, Tampa
Compare and contrast | Feb. 24, letter
Numbers tell the story
It appears that this letter writer, like her hero, has chosen alternative facts and is ignoring the "fake news" that has covered this issue. Of course the facts are provided by a "terrible" media that constantly "lies," but the figures the writer overlooked are out there.
Ignoring these figures — because they don't fit a viewpoint that dislikes former President Barack Obama and thinks everything Donald Trump does is acceptable — doesn't make them less true.
Forbes.com, CNBC.com and others pointed out that Obama cost the taxpayers $97 million for his eight years in office for security on travel; while Trump and his family have cost $11 million in one month.
Trump pledged that he would "rarely leave the White House because there's so much work to be done." So much for that.
Michael Sales, Madeira Beach