The CITT is officially useless. Yesterday the commission voted 9 - 3 to allow the use of surtax dollars for maintenance and operations of the existing pre-surtax transit system. Without the need to provide oversight of surtax dollars I don’t see what purpose the CITT has (other than the fact that the County legally has to keep the board working to collect the tax per the ballot measure voters approved). Here is the wording of the 2002 ballot question:
Shall the County implement the People’s Transportation Plan including: Plans to build rapid transit lines to West Dade, Kendall, Florida City, Miami Beach and North Dade; expanding bus service; adding 635 buses; improving traffic signalization to reduce traffic backups; improving major and neighborhood roads and highways, including drainage; and funding to municipalities for road and transportation projects by levying a ½ percent sales surtax whose proceeds will be overseen by the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust?
Sigh…oh well. So the plan was oversold. So money was whittled away on free passes, and a 20% municipal share, and inflated salaries…etc. etc., but where does that leave us?
If commissioners hadn’t supported the change, the transit agency was already preparing to make deep, unpopular cuts in the older, more productive routes that existed before the sales tax.
Instead, with Tuesday’s vote, transit manager can use the ”new” money to support ”older” services that existed before 2002 — and instead make less painful cuts on newer routes that haven’t attracted as many riders.
I feel conflicted about the change. I realize the practical problems confronting the mismanaged system (as described above), but I’m also pissed as hell that our leaders don’t take transit seriously enough to fund it correctly. The calls for repealing the surtax are well founded - why should we continue the tax when it isn’t being used for its intended purpose? What would the County do if it did not have the luxury of surtax dollars to fall back on? I think they better start thinking because people are losing their patience - and this is not a service the County can just stop providing. When/if the tax is repealed the county is going to have to scramble to get their assess into gear or face throngs of unhappy voters.
P.S. Repealing the tax would be a step back for this community. I don’t think it is the right thing to do - yet.
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