Commissioner Gimenez’s proposed changes to the CITT were rejected in yesterday’s Commission hearing by a 6 - 6 vote. I was sad to see the 6 no votes - Audrey Edmonson, Barbara Jordon, Chariman Moss, Javier Souto, Bruno Barreiro, and Joe Martinez. This would have been the first good decision the Commission made with regard to transit and the CITT. Too Bad. Commissioner Gimenez can now continue his mission to take the tax back to the voters. If he is successful you can be sure that the tax will be no more.
Meanwhile, his opinion’s on transit have taken a turn for the bizzare. Check out this interview with Carlos Gimenez produced by WPBG, Channel 2. His assesment of the CITT is right on, but his Plan B is a disaster. Gimenez contends that the car “is the most underutilized form of transit in this country.” Is he kidding?
While not proving any details, he suggests that ‘outside the box thinking’ such as carpooling and other car related programs should be the focus of our transit system. (A bad idea.) Commissioner Gimenez: We need a functional mass transit system that gets people out of their cars. We do not need to continue a falty land development system that relies on the car. An economic comparison of cars vs. mass transit will show that the car loses when taking into account social and environmental costs. Upfront costs might be more for certain forms of transit, but the long term economic benefit of investment around transit outweighs the initial cost.
This reminds me of a property I help my grandfather manage. It is an old 1940’s house that desperately needs a new roof (it has the same original tongue & groove roof deck from the 1940’s!), and considering the rain we’ve been getting the last two days I have gotten a few calls from the residents. Not only that, the interior has not been updated in at least thirty years. So I say, “Abuelo, its time to invest in repairs and upgrades! With a small but significant investment you can make more money over the long term.” Abuelo always says no, and calls the roofer to apply tar liberally over the existing roof as a patch. Rent remains low, and turnover high, but I know with strategic investment we can make a big impact in how much rent is collected.
It is the same with mass transit. Highways and cars (the tar patch we continue to rely on) suffer from bad diminishing returns - they are an inefficient form of transit, yet we continue to spend money on roadway expansion and repaving rather than investing in mass transit. The upfront costs of transit are greater, but the long term benefits are also greater. We need to start somewhere.
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