White paper: Greenlight Pinellas transportation tax proposal a failed system

Jul 28 • 862 Views • View Comments

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White paper investigates Greenlight Pinellas transportation tax proposal
and exposes 
a failed system.

Investigative Report validates a “no” vote on the November tax
and proposes a viable no new taxes transportation alternative

A report published today by international consultant and leading rail opponent, Randal O’Toole, exposes a clearly flawed transportation proposal that is before Pinellas County voters in November.

The “Greenlight Pinellas” proposal, that includes a sales tax increase and a modest reduction in property taxes is ‘fundamentally flawed,’ states Ax the Tax Chairman Doug Guetzloe.

Ax the Tax requested and commissioned the exhaustive white paper on the Greenlight Pinellas’ proposal from Randal O’Toole, a noted scholar and leading opponent of rail systems throughout the United States and overseas.  Dr. O’Toole, a Senior Fellow of the internationally known Cato Institute, examined all pertinent documents and resources to arrive at these conclusions in the paper.

O’Toole calls this plan ‘Greenlight Pinellas,’ but it would be more accurate to call it ‘Red Ink Pinellas.’

The extensive report goes on to quote PSTA’s own analysis:

“PSTA’s proposal to build a light rail line reveals a callous disregard for taxpayers and the need to make the most effective use of available resources. Light rail is an expensive, inflexible technology that has not significantly advanced since 1939. PSTA’s own analysis shows that it is little better than half as cost-effective as an alternative bus rapid transit plan that itself is unnecessarily expensive.”

PSTA figures reveal that only 2127 Pinellas residents actually use mass transit out of 921,000 population of Pinellas, rendering the proposed system a transportation alternative failure as outlined, “The Census Bureau estimates that about 921,000 people lived in Pinellas County in 2012.[1] Nearly 407,000 of these people had jobs, with close to 24,000 of them working at home, meaning about 383,000 people commuted to work. Of these, barely more than 6,000, or about 1.6 percent, relied on transit to get to work.[2]

In addition to clearly outlining the failure of the Greenlight Pinellas plan, O’Toole has outlined a reasonable transportation alternative that requires no additional tax dollars from the beleaguered Pinellas taxpayers. Ax the Tax will be actively promoting the O’Toole proposal to Pinellas voters in lieu of the Greenlight boondoggle.

Ax the Tax has relied on O’Toole in the past for comprehensive analysis of rail and its failures. In 1999, O’Toole’s testimony and appearance in Orlando to help Ax the Tax oppose a proposed light rail plan in Orange led the Orange County commission to vote down the proposed boondoggle in an historic 4-3 vote.

Ax the Tax, a statewide political action committee, was founded in 1982 (ironically Ax the Tax’s first victory was against the Greenlight Committee) and since that time has assisted taxpayers in many Florida counties, including Hillsborough County, in defeating over $50 billion in unnecessary proposed taxes. Most of those victories were rail proposals.


[1]2012 American Community Survey, table S0101 for Pinellas County.

[2]. Ibid, table B08301 for Pinellas County.

Chairman Doug Guetzloe
(407) 312-1781


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