Ft Laud Mayor Dean Trantalis Takes Fight Against Streetcar To The County

 

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

Broward County Commissioners must know what is going on outside the windows of their offices in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

They must know that voters in the past election demanded a change in City Hall.

Voters demanded an end to the thoughtless overdevelopment of the city.

And voters demanded an end to The Wave, a money pit disguised as a streetcar project.

We will find out later this month if County Commissioners have been listening. That’s when commissioners are scheduled to vote whether to continue the county’s multi-million dollar participation in The Wave.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis has begun lobbying County Commissioners against the project.

 

Dean Trantalis

 

In a letter to County Commission Chair Beam Furr, Trantalis noted that voters in the city election two months ago chose candidates who opposed The Wave. The Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted Tuesday to end participation in The Wave.

“Let’s end this current effort and start fresh,” Trantalis pleaded.

The letter may not get any traction with Furr. Maybe some other commissioners, but not Furr.

Furr’s district is based on Hollywood, so why would he care about Fort Lauderdale voters? Maybe that’s why he backed The Wave in the past.

Instead of noting what Fort Lauderdale wants, a more important point to make with Furr could be this:

Why should his District 6 voters living in Hollywood, Hallandale Beach and Pembroke Pines pay millions for a system soley benefitting  a small stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale? Not one dollar will go to South Broward, which has its own acute traffic problems.

Furr has answered the question in the past by saying The Wave is the lynchpin of a fixed rail system that will run through many parts of Broward.  Yeah, and the moon is made of green cheese.

There is no money for a larger transit system.  And no prospects of getting the billions that such a system would cost. Even a sales tax hike, which is the not so hidden agenda of the pro-The Wave forces, wouldn’t supply enough money.

The Wave would be an endless drain on tax money in a county with other overwhelming needs.

Just witness what goes on in Miami-Dade, where the Metrorail soaks up millions in property taxes beyond the half cent sales tax approved in 2002 with promises the system would expand by 25 miles.  Taxpayers are still waiting for the expansion. No wonder critics call it Metrofail. 

 

Beam Furr (on the left)

 

 

Beam, you don’t need a crystal ball or a DeLoriean time machine from Back To The Future to know that The Wave will never be the start of a countywide transit system except in the fevered dreams of flaky planners.

Here is Trantalis’ letter (click to enlarge):

 

 

 

 



13 Responses to “Ft Laud Mayor Dean Trantalis Takes Fight Against Streetcar To The County”

  1. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    If the county wants to pursue the Wave then by all means you county monies, not Ft.Lau.Lets face it the residents in Ft.Lau want nothing to do with this Wave.I say go with trollies that solely run on like say these batteries like u find in the Tesla cars.I would like to see the county and city split the cost to approach the Tesla co. to pay for a consulting study to implement the trollies running on these type of lithium batteries.This way no overhead wires.No digging up the roads for the trollies to run on.Basically u could put these routes anywhere..

  2. Another money pit exercise says:

    The District 6 commissioner is the ceremonial mayor till November and is up for re-election in 2020. A new mayor will then weigh in (Barbara Sharieff again?)
    When the full financial measure is taken by BCC in the next few weeks now that they know FLL is not contributing $$ to the costs, they will have sticker shock. Some on the ballot in Aug. or Nov. 2018 may not be re-elected if they commit county funds to this boondoggle as most county citizens see this (they see anything FLL is doing a boondoggle) as a money pit and fancy downtown merry-go-round. Tens of millions of dollars have already been spent, and FLL reportedly will have to ‘pay this back or be sued’, but when the audit shows what all these tens of millions of dollars were spent on, the citizens will be furious.
    Consultants? Studies? Renderings? Attornies? No different than the Sistrunk money pit, Southside School money pit, new county courthouse money pit, new airport south runway money pit, etc., etc. Citizens will not want BCC supporting this, whether Furr wants to justify it or not. He will be back in the school system Media Department if he doesn’t come to his senses.

  3. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #2.U r so right.In regards to Ft.Lau where was the city auditor?.Come on whats he sleeping at the wheel.Speaking of Mayor Trantalis cleaning house the city auditor shoyld be sent packing.Oh for the cherry on top wait making well over 200g per year.Not kidding 200g.What does the auditor have to show for it???.Your right NOTHING…

  4. Stormwatch says:

    I’ve lived in south Florida since 1973 and watched it grow from a sleepy tourist town to one of the most highly populated and congested metropolitan areas in the United States. I can remember when 441 was 2 lanes and there was nothing west of University Drive, except a Holiday Inn and the Sportatorium. Its been frustrating to see all of the “Whats in it for me?” politicians ruin this town. Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County. 100 miles long, 30 miles wide, and 7 million people crammed into it. We build our stadiums. Ballparks and arenas in residential neighborhoods instead of downtown or on the water. Unless you have the kind of pull that Micky Arison has. We have poorly designed highways and ill timed traffic lights. We have the worst public transportation of any large metroplois in America, and people who think that public transportation is supposed to turn a profit. South Florida has political leaders with their hands out and no vision. Eventually vastly increased public transportation is inevitable. But rather than start seriously addressing the need now, our political leaders will stick future generations with the problem. New York City’s trains have always operated in the red. They always will. NYC leaders understand that without those trains, Manhattan real estate values go down the tubes. So the trains lose money. But all those folks in and out of NYC on a daily basis equals big money. Come on south Florida. Lets get in the 21rst century already.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Fort Lauderdale’s tiny The Wave and New York’s subway system are nothing alike.

    First of all, New York City’s subways were largely built 100 or more years ago, much of the construction paid by private companies.

    Second of all, New York City’s subways is no paragon of efficiency. It is in ill-repair and regularly experiences delays or cancellation of service. Built long ago for a smaller city, it is overcrowded with platforms so narrow in some stations that they are dangerous. And the fares are expensive.

    Third of all, the subways go almost everywhere. The Wave would be confined to a little slice of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

    “Vastly increased public transportation” does not have to mean fixed rail. It could be buses (self driving?).

  5. A reader says:

    Today, the County Commission killed the Wave and started talking about other public transportation systems that would actually alleviate some traffic congestion. Of course, the conversations are about 30 years too late, but at least the politicians seem to have a clue what transportation routes are needed. Git ‘er done!

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Broward follows Fort Lauderdale to end Wave streetcar project

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-sb-wave-streetcar-saga-returns-to-broward-commission-20180507-story.html

  7. Keeps his word says:

    Dean Trantalis is acting like Donal Trump….he keeps his word. He stood up to the downtown power brokers and voted against their self serving pet project. Today is a great day. No Iran deal and no wave!

  8. Stormwatch says:

    Buddy.. yes, NYC’s subway system was built 100 years ago. The politicians in NYC knew over 100 years ago what needed to be done. Just like the politicians in NJ in the 70’s when it came to building the NY Turnpike with it’s 20 lanes. When will south Florida ever get politicians with that kind of vision and commitment? It’s not as if all this growth was unpredicted. I use to do yearly ascertainments for a radio station in the 80s. We knew then what the population in south Florida would be now. We knew the rate that the shoreline would recede. Contingencies were not made. We could argue all day about the efficiency of NYC’s subway system. But, like you said, it goes everywhere. It also transports 5.6 million people a day. That sounds pretty efficient to me. We do not have enough highway space for all of the cars or more lanes, and people are suggesting more buses? If our highways cannot accommodate all the cars, what makes anyone think a bus will be better? The answer for south Florida is the same as other highly populated metropolitan areas.. that being elevated light rail. We had a lot of Federal money earmarked for a bullet train. Our wonderful governor declined that money, than allowed a private entity to take part in something that should have been government run. Just like the politicians that are giving away our interstate highway system to private entities so that they can poorly maintain them and charge us money to drive on them. We could have had a bullet rain from Miami to Orlando. But now, California gets that money for a bullet train from L.A. to San Francisco. Elevated light rail is inevitable for south Florida. But we have political leaders who are more interested in what they can get out of it rather than tackling the real problem of a highly populated metro area having the means to move mass quantities of people efficiently from point A to Point B. There should be an elevated light rail right down the center of 441 from Okeechobee Boulevard in WPB to the Miami Dade Line. There should also be one down the middle of 595 from Weston to Downtown Lauderdale and Port Everglades. There will come a time when south Florida will become like New York and L.A. Traffic will be mostly at a stand still and many will have no choice but to resort to mass transportation. I remember how much opposition the Metromover got. I have lost track of the amount of times I have ridden it when in downtown Miami, and every time that I have, lots of people were on it. But by the time the Broward politicians see the light at the end of the tunnel, the cost will be far more astronomical than it is now and future generations will pay the price for our lack of vision and planning. You can get a train from Connecticut, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania directly into NYC relatively easy. Millions do that for work and leisure activity. But, ya can’t get a train from Delray Beach to downtown Miami, or downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Matter of fact, without a car, there’s a whole lot of stuff one cannot do in this here glorified sandbar 100 miles long and 30 miles wide with 7 million people and no real public transportation to speak of. No excuse for an area this populated to not be seriously addressing mass transportation.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Again, not addressed is who is going to pay for all this mass transit? The Feds? Unlikely with the growing deficit. The State? Unlikely, with a low-tax Legislature, a limited tax base and stipulations in the Constitution against raising the property taxes beyond a certain level. Local politicians? They are hampered by the same law-tax legislation from the state, plus a lack of will.

    Also, your confidence in the New York subways is not mirrored by residents. This is from yesterday’s New York Times:

    “Average weekday ridership actually decreased by 40,000 people from January 2013 to January 2018, while trains went from being on time 84 percent of the time to 58 percent.”

  9. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    You are so right Buddy.Speaking of this Wave.I would put the brakes on popping the cork on the champagne just yet.How do they recoup the 30 plus million dollars that has been spent on this over the yrs???.

  10. mrkneeley says:

    #9 Like California, we are seeing few cars on the road each day. Folks can no longer afford to live in decent housing, so many working people are living in their cars. Over time, they will learn to park their homes as close to work as possible.

  11. Stormwatch says:

    Buddy, you raise a very legitimate concern with respect to how we can pay for all of this needed mass public transportation. I would suggest that leaders with the proper vision know how to make it happen. I’m sure the last thing in the world many south Florida residents or political leaders want to hear is how they do it in other places. But, that’s exactly what we need to do. See how they do it in other places. There’s a recently published article by Patrick Sisson from CURBED titled “Perfecting Public Transportation: 10 U.S. Cities With Progressive Plans.” Every political leader in Broward should read it. Los Angeles political leaders recently passed the “Mobility 2035 Plan.” Part of that plan passed was “Measure M” which raised the sales tax by one half cent,generating $121 Billion for transit investment, including ongoing light rail expansion. Right now, the Crenshaw Line, the Regional Connector Line, and the Purple Line are all extending light rail service from downtown L.A. to suburban neighborhoods. Denver has embarked on the new Eagle P3 Project, which is a public / private partnership and they are focusing heavily on light rail. The University of Colorado A Line has cut the travel time from downtown Denver to the airport by one half. They are now expanding the G line and adding 122 miles of commuter and light rail lines. In 2015, Seattle leaders passed “Move Seattle” which includes a 50 billion dollar rail expansion and the “ST3” rail plan which calls for 62 miles of new light rail linking 37 different stations. They just broke ground on the “Center City Connector” streetcar that links to the rail lines. Phoenix has been working hard on light rail since 2008 and ridership has soared above expectations. Valley Metro is getting ready to build another 66 more miles of light rail. So why is it that residents and political leaders in cities like L.A., Denver, Seattle, and Phoenix have the vision and can find a way to make it happen, but those of us here in south Florida can’t?

  12. @mrkneeley says:

    @mrkneeley
    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/sd-fi-car-sales-20180222-story.html

    For the third straight year, sales for new cars and trucks in California exceeded 2 million and the forecast for 2018 anticipates the number to top 2 million again — but just barely, as the rate of growth is slowing.

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    How a Chinese city turned all its 16,000 buses electric: Shenzhen is the poster child for China’s massive push to electrify its buses

    https://www.curbed.com/2018/5/4/17320838/china-bus-shenzhen-electric-bus-transportation

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