I've heard the plan for Hillsborough's light rail called "a huge expense," but I think that's a misconception. Light rail should be viewed as an investment. Expenses never provide a return on the costs incurred, but investments have the potential to increase in value many times over.
As chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's annual benchmarking trip, I saw firsthand the success of the 20-mile system in Phoenix.
Phoenix made a $1.4 billion public investment in its light rail system, a system very similar to what Hillsborough is planning. Since 2004, the city has already seen $7.4 billion in private investments made within a half-mile of the rail line.
Yes, light rail requires an upfront cost with the federal government subsidizing the first two lines at 50 percent. Phoenix's return on investment proves the great economic benefits that Hillsborough could also enjoy.
We have an opportunity on Nov. 2 to change the landscape in Tampa Bay. Our time is now. Vote for expanding transportation options in Hillsborough County.
DOUGLAS J. DIECK