The writer is executive director of Tampa Crossroads, which provides substance abuse treatment, counseling to
veterans and other services. The writer is a retired transportation engineer.
Letters to the editor
Look beyond finances
Much has been said about the proposed light-rail system for Tampa. Non-supporters argue the proposed transit system will not be a financially viable project and should not be built. Fiscally, their conclusion is correct, but the transit system can be proven to be an economically viable one.
From a strictly financial standpoint, no transit projects built around the world since the 1970s were financially viable. Even the Hong Kong system wasn't a financially viable project when not coupled with related real estate development.
In simple terms, every consumer who travels will benefit from Tampa's transit project. Those living within the corridor of the system will have the choice of being able to use that system. Their savings in travel time and cost are easily quantifiable as benefits over time. For those living within the corridor who persist on driving to work and to other places, their collective benefits such as savings in travel time and cost are also quantifiable.
Benefits for the rest of the transport networks that serves Tampa and its metropolitan area also can be quantified over time. Congestion relief in a specific corridor tends to cascade to other roads. In terms of economics they could all add up to help justify the transit system.
Any potential reduction in the use of fossil fuel should also be viewed as a benefit, resulting in the need to import less fossil fuel. There also is the potential gain in the tax base. This is especially cogent as development intensifies around transit station core areas and other areas.
There is a need to look beyond the strict financial aspect of the project.LANNEY C. WENNDade City