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Senior Button Pusher
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I couldn't possibly agree more with this opinion... The passage of these bills is even more disturbing to me than the sham transit authority the Legislature created last week for the Tampa region.

In fact, I think this is one of those things where people in favor of sensible growth and protecting Florida's most valuable economic asset (it's natural habitat), should be flooding the Governor's office with emails, faxes and calls about this issue...



Veto Effort To Gut Growth Management


Editorial
The Tampa Tribune
Published: May 10, 2007
http://www.tbo.com/news/opinion/editorials/MGBQZU4DI1F.html




Bills that would shred Florida's growth management efforts and create more costs for taxpayers should be at the top of Gov. Charlie Crist's veto list.

The more offensive measure would free the Florida Turnpike Enterprise of fiscal accountability or planning concerns. The scheme would eliminate the requirement that a toll road be able to repay half its bond debt within 12 years. It would extend the deadline for repaying all of its debt from 22 years to 30 years.

Eliminating the short-term payback requirement would allow toll roads to be built solely to encourage development in rural areas. If a road is not going to generate a reasonable return within a dozen or so years, then there is obviously no demand for it. And the state's focus should be on meeting the transportation needs of its population centers, not promoting expensive and hard-to-serve sprawling subdivisions.

At the same time, the Legislature also increased the bonding authority for turnpike projects from $4.5 billion to $9 billion, without any assurance that the money would be wisely spent. Increasing the bonding capacity while eliminating fiscal accountability is reckless. By vetoing the legislation, Crist would put the needs of Florida's motorists ahead of the dreams of land speculators and developers.

Crist also should jettison another bill that would allow communities to change their growth plans without state oversight. Pinellas and Broward counties and the cities of Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Hialeah and Tallahassee would receive the exemption, purportedly because they are densely populated and do not require the attention that less developed areas need.

But oversight of local growth plans by the state Department of Community Affairs has proved invaluable in pressuring communities to fulfill their planning promises.

Crist should use his veto to remind lawmakers that smart planning saves tax dollars.
 
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