Gutsy: Publisher Slams “The Wave” Street Car Loved By His Advertisers

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

Developers’ ads pay for Gold Coast magazine to chronicle the glittery Gucci lifestyle of million dollar condos and billion dollar bankbooks.

So it beyond gutsy that Gold Coast publisher Bernie McCormick has waged a campaign against that long held dream of the Fort Lauderdale development community – The Wave street car.

Why do developers crave The Wave?

Building a street car gives developers an excuse to build more and higher buildings along its route without having to worry about all that pesky, expensive parking and street overcrowding.

Developers’ dirty little secret is that The Wave will actually add to traffic and be an never-ending drag on tax dollars.

The construction estimates for this project years in the future are already running $80 to $100 million over original projections.

McCormick understands what a disaster The Wave has become.

 

Bernie McCormick

 

In the November issue of Gold Coast, Bernie writes:

“…the tracks will run in lanes shared by other traffic. Instead of speeding movement on the most congested downtown streets, they will only add to it, holding up lines of cars and trucks when they stop for passengers every block or so…

“The overhead wires will be unsightly for a resort community and vulnerable to hurricanes…

“What is puzzling about The Wave is that nobody seems to want it. Nobody except maybe developers who continue to build monstrous structures that nobody wants either…The more ordinary people complain, like boats against the current, the more developers bear us ceaselessly (and mindlessly) into the past.”

That’s fearless journalism!

I wrote a lot that annoyed advertisers at the Sun-Sentinel. One time a cruise line pulled thousand of dollars in ads over one of my series. But I cashed the same paycheck every two weeks.

If developers pull ads from Gold Coast, it hits Bernie right in the pocket.

The Wave is a costly idea from a generation ago, proposed before the birth of Uber, Lyft and other ride sharing.

Recent research by the Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis, found that people choose ride sharing over light rail like The Wave.

Why not?

Ride sharing can be used on demand and delivers a passenger right to the door.

 

 

 

Source: Institute of Transportation Studies, U. C. Davis

 

The Wave is a multi-million dollar waste of money in a community that has so many needs — fixing the failing infrastructure and coping with flooding from climate change. Instead of tackling already existing problems, hundreds of millions are flushed away to construct and operate a streetcar that will connect with….nothing.

And residents in Parkland, Hallandale Beach or any place in Broward should care about this boondoggle for downtown Fort Lauderdale developers.

The Wave is being paid by Fort Lauderdale and County taxpayers..

Yes, taxpayers living miles away from The Wave are already paying for the project’s planning, although few of them will ever ride the already-obsolete streetcar system.

The Wave needs to be a major issue in the ongoing Fort Lauderdale mayor and commission race.

Voters need to know where every candidate stands on this waste of money “that won’t go away, no matter how many people oppose this strange and impractical idea bearing us into the past.”

Those are Bernie’s words in Gold Coast.

Candidates need to stand up….like Bernie McCormick has.

 

 



35 Responses to “Gutsy: Publisher Slams “The Wave” Street Car Loved By His Advertisers”

  1. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #1 i love his magazine.I agree with everything he stated.When you can.t even get people to ride the trolley,for free to boot how in the world are going to get passengers to have to pay to make it feasable to get them on this kaboosh is what i call it.Plus its very pricey.It was just revealed its going to cost even more money ….

  2. STOP THE WAVE says:

    Downtown voters know that Trantalis and Roberts voted for this boondoggle every step of the way.

    The cost overruns are before the first shovel goes in the ground. How do Roberts and Trantalis propose paying for that?

    Years of DDA assessments. For what? When we went to speak at the Commission meeting they ignored us. No details, no plan, just signed on the bottom line and now what?

    Even if the County terminates the deal, how much is that going to cost us?

  3. Maxine K. Streeter says:

    Thank you for bringing this issue into the light again. The time has come to WAVE GOODBYE and I applaude Mr. McCormick’s courage and conviction. But I’m not surprised. Mr. McCormick, like so many of us who have deep roots in this community, has grit to speak truth to power and stand up for what is right. The Sun Sentinel article on Monday exposing that the Wave is projected to be $74,000,000.00 overbudget (that’s before they’ve started construction) is the red flag needed to pull the plug on this ridiculous pork project now. It is interesting that this project was approved without proper soil studies being done. Engineers have testified that it will need to be built on pilings or it will sink. It is disappointing that this project will be constructed over one of the most vulnerable failing sewer systems in Downtown. Last year Tarpon River spent the holidays wading in raw sewage. And NO the sewer system will not be replaced before construction — there’s no money to replace it.* I’ve been at City Commission meetings where it was stated from the dais, “well, we already have the money so we need to just build it and we can fix it later.” That is absolutely unacceptable. Since the funds received from the government cannot not be used for anything except this project the money needs to be given back. It is the height of fiscal irresponsibility to continue support of this project. I have heard all the candidates say they oppose the Wave. I am aware of only one, Warren Sturman, District 4, Fort Lauderdale City Commission who has put his opposition in writing on his campaign literature. It’s time to wave good bye to this project and the politicians who continue to support it.

    *As an aside it was learned this week that the sewer vacuum trucks in the City are costing taxpayers in excess of $250,000.00 PER DAY. This cost is not in the budget and there are no reserves to pay for the vacuuming.

  4. Broward Voter says:

    I have an idea. Paint what like tracks on the street. Then paint some buses to look like streetcars. It will be a lot cheaper and work a lot more efficiently.

  5. Art Seitz says:

    Thank you for your consist efforts to protect, preserve and enhance Fort Lauderdale — Your a great man Bernie McCormick!

  6. Pulltheplug says:

    Good for Bernie.
    We need to know the position of each candidate. Unless they say they will stop the Wave, they will not get my vote.

  7. Barb Luzzo says:

    Finally some one speaking the truth about the wave! Thie Wave was never voted on by tax payers to use my money for a out dated form of transportation. The Wave is only way to put money into developers hands. They want to save Money on building with out parking garage! We the voters of Ft Lauderdale and Broward County need to know how taxes are being spent. We need our sewers and drainage upto date.

  8. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    These comments are 100%correct.The taxpayer never wanted this .It had been forced down our throats.End it.I mean where are they going to find the extra monies.I mean this is like a giant zit on both Trantalis and Roberts.They both supported it.Mayor Seiler also says he is disappointed in the price increase for the damn thing.I mean that’s all he can say.What a mess..

  9. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    NOT ONE OF THE CRITICS OF THE WSVE LIVED IN CITIES WITH TROLLEYS or is a TRANSPORTATION PROFESSIONAL.
    THE State of Flirida NOT FORT LAUDERDALE or BROWARD SCREWED UP THE BIDDING.I dont want to get personal but where are these massives of people opposed to the WAVE on Election Day when PRO WAVE candidates win?

  10. Well when events change says:

    Blaming voters? Lobbyists sell the project to Elected Officials. Sometimes they spend a disproportionate amount of time selling instead of ensuring that the underlying product actually has a shot of working or being delivered.

    Elected officials need votes. This is not breaking news.

    You would be naive to think that a Transit system would be delivered on time and on budget.

    In this case it appears if published reports are correct that the City signed up for a system, bore unlimited or certainly excessive financial liability and did so without a seat at the table. City officials don’t control the destiny of the project and that is problematic.

    It should be expected that if voters aka taxpayers find out that they would react accordingly.

    Paul Samuelson (Nobel Laureate MIT 12/20/1970) “Well when events change, I change my mind. What do you do?”

  11. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Oh wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had Mr. McCormick here in Hillsborough! Senator Latvala (yes the one who did damage control badly for Clemens) actually tried to get the power to put a tax on the ballot via regional transit bill. Foiled by Sen Lee and Brandes The fixed rail profiteers are pushing and consultant Jacobs seems happy to oblige. Here we have conservatives to vote them out. Broward left made the bed of waste and corruption

  12. Bernard McCormick says:

    Thanks, Buddy. I am a fan of rail transit, including street cars, but only when done correctly. Denver is a model: dedicated lanes on some of the broader downtown streets, with connections to existing rail lines to serve the suburbs.

    My old town of Philly still has some trolleys, but they are limited to less busy streets, and the most useful run underground in the heart of downtown for a considerable distance before surfacing in less congested neighborhoods.

    It is puzzling that so many Fort Lauderdale voters, including a lot of business people, are angry about the orgy of downtown development, and yet our elected officials are not listening.

    Your recent blog about Fort Lauderdale lacking the infrastructure – especially limited access to the beach – to sustain this over development, was right on target.

  13. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    Fort Lauderdale city elections are in less than 90 days. Voters should reject candidates who want to pursue this trolley boondoggle as well as the excessive raiding of water & sewer revenues from individual homeowners (who pay disproportionately under the fee structure) to keep property tax bills lower on non-homestead properties.

  14. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #13You are absolutely right.This wave is poison.But they all supported it.Meaning all canidates for mayor.Its a disgrace.You also are right on target about the city manager raiding the water and sewer funds.Yes.Yes Mr.Feldman and your damage control go big.Go fast.Yeah go fast,as you packing and someone new replacing you.I.ll tell these mayoral canidates be careful in supporting this city manager because the angry voter (plenty) want him out.Charlotte Rodstrom if she plays her cards right just might pull this off because she in support of terminating the city manager.While Roberts wants ri keep him.Don.t misread me Comm.Roberts as of right now is doing very well.My suggestion to Rodstrom and Trantalis is eat your Wheaties because Roberts is going to be tough to beat…

  15. That's how we do it says:

    https://therealdeal.com/miami/2017/10/29/soaring-costs-threaten-the-wave-streetcar-project-in-fort-lauderdale/

    “…Jenni Morejon, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, told the Sun-Sentinel that soliciting bids for large projects more than once is one way to lower their cost….”
    So what is not sticker shock in the bid becomes the mandated Change Orders once under construction.
    Yeah, thats how we do it.

    FROM BUDDY:

    The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) consists solely of downtown Fort Lauderdale property owners who want all of Broward’s property owners to pay for a street car project to benefit them. Without The Wave, would the DDA have a reason to exist? Without a reason to exist, I guess Jenni Morejon would have to get a new job.

  16. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Except for CD II the candidates in the Election invl for Mayor are pro WAVE n Pro Devrlopment. Actually.in VD II but I dont eant to give the Crazies a heart attacks at Dean’s Agenda Review

  17. HollywoodResident says:

    Recent study noting that bus rapid transit can achieve the same when done right – https://www.planetizen.com/news/2017/10/95494-study-finds-bus-rapid-transit-more-comparable-light-rail-previously-thought

  18. Tired of self serving politicians says:

    @13
    Watch out in District 4 for a former commissioner from Dania Beach who resigned his seat in midterm to move to Fort Lauderdale and set up a campaign for that city’s commission.

    This former commissioner was a member of the MPO for a few years during the planning for the Wave. He supported the idea. He is a commercial property appraiser. Commercial property builders are in favor of the Wave. Thousands of dollars in this candidate’s campaign treasury have come from developers.

    Connect the dots.

  19. FTL Voter says:

    This is one eastside Fort Lauderdale voter who will ONLY be voting for city candidates who vow to cancel and defund the boondoggle Wave project. I don’t care if that means we will lose federal dollars, or have already wasted city dollars. Going forward is just good money following bad money. Time to cut our loses and move into the 21st century.

  20. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I support the WAVE AS ADVERTISED WITH COSTS as propised n NO ADFITIINAL TAXES. I oppose one adfitional dime FROM FT LAUDERDALE TAXPAYERS. It is the State’s obligstion to bild WITHIN THE BUDGET not ONE CENT MORE.

  21. Wave the Wave goodbye says:

    When the ridership of the Sun trolley has more than 80% full on any of its routes then talk about spending Millions. As for the DDA they are trying to benefit themselves and
    only themselves on our backs. Mostly to make money greed is not a reason to support the WAVE, your Commission and Mayor choose the low road and continue to develop the over crowded roads with now possible road expansion.Shame on them . Stop this insanity a light rail in 21st century is ridiculous .

    This Demographic uses cars, and that’s
    is the way it is.

  22. It never ends says:

    #20 You do realize that there were over $11 million in local cost overruns last year and that the City had to come up with an additional 5.6 million, the DDA $1 million and the County $4.6 million.

    A 4 person Selection Committee will vote on Monday at 9am to either Reject or Accept this 2nd round of cost overruns.

    If they accept (unlikely if not impossible) the lowest bid the City would be on the hook for $18.5 million.

    It never ends….

  23. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    This overpriced Kaboosh as i call it will haunt both Comm.Roberts(boy have i heard your name alit this week) and Comm.Trantalis. Who will pay for this fiasco as indicated here-you will? Your property taxes and don’t be surprised if there is a special assessment in your tax bill as well. Scary. If something you will never utilize This is another poison pill for these mayoral candidates…

  24. It never ends says:

    The WAVE November 6th final selection committee meeting has been moved from 9am to 2:30pm and moved to the larger auditorium.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Where is that auditorium?

  25. It never ends says:

    FDOT building 3400 W. Commercial Blvd

  26. Ha Ha Ha says:

    (This might (or might not) be the WAVE meeting:)

    Infrastructure Task Force Meeting

    Date:
    November 06, 2017 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

    Location:
    City Hall
    8th Floor Conference Room
    100 North Andrews Avenue
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301

    http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/4882/19?sortn=EName&sortd=asc&folder=2&toggle=next7days

  27. MrKneeley says:

    #22 did you realize that Fort Lauderdale tapped it’s Water and Sewer fund for that last $5.6 million WAVE overrun?

  28. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Like several other MAJOR expenditures EVERYONE forgets the BEST PROTECTION for the City Is good solid legal advice IN WRITTEN LEGAL OPINIONS. Where are the WRITTEN PUBLIC MEMOS 1). If the State FAILS to control the costs HIW THE CITY GETS OFF THE HOOK n MAYBE GETS OUR MONEY BACK? 2). That FAILURE BY THE STATE or COUNTY or DDA to live up to THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES LETS THE CITY OFF THE HOOK and THE CITY CAN CAWL BACK OUR CITY MONEY AS OTHERS FAILED TO PERFORM?

  29. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    This Wave has alot of residents so concerned that if this goes through that the residents will have to pay a special assessment like a transportation tax to pay for it.For something they tell me will never use.They are also telling me that they will not vote for anyone that has supported it.

  30. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #28 Good point Count.

  31. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Broward’s Runaway Rail Dreams
    ( New Anti-Wave Editorial In The Sun-Sentinel )

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/editorials/fl-op-editorial-wave-streetcar-20171103-story.html#nt=oft03a-1la1

  32. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    # 26 That is probably an interesting meeting too, because they will be talking about the city’s attempt to sell bonds for its wastewater woes, but the FDOT bid meeting, should be at the state’s FDOT district 4 office on W. Commercial. The city hall meeting agenda is at http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/home/showdocument?id=25869

  33. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Results of FDOT bid meeting here…

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-sb-fort-lauderdale-wave-streetcar-contract-20171106-story.html

    They are still trying to find ways to keep this boondoggle going.

    It’s up for another round of bidding now…

  34. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @6 Good news!! Dean Trantalis wrote this in his Nov 2017 District II newsletter:

    Enough is enough … city staff repeatedly told us that it was too late to stop The Wave. I’ve learned this is simply not true. The Wave can be stopped, and it’s time to put an end to this. Here’s how it can be done…

    http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/home/showdocument?id=26309

  35. Are you kidding me says:

    why didn’t dean trantalis read the document before voting every single time?

    Why didn’t bruce roberts, or romney rogers or robert mckinzie or jack seiler? why doesn’t lee feldman know whether they can or cannot get out of it? Useless bums all the way around.

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