Truth behind LowT Gimenez's Taxpayer funded Monorail

Sun Sentinel:

Is this a good use of the funds generated by the new transportation tax? What other uses would you like to see the money go to?

“Before we begin, is anyone here an investigative reporter?”

That’s how monorail salesman/con artist Lyle Lanley starts his class on monorail tech jobs in the classic Simpsons episode “Marge vs. the Monorail,” and it’s as good a place as any to start here, because on its surface, the plan to build a monorail from Hard Rock Stadium into Broward County along University Drive has already generated some skepticism among locals.

Facebook comments on our posting of the monorail story have included “How about fix the crumbling water utility in Fort Lauderdale before buying the shiny choo choo train?!” and “The businesses that will benefit from this should be the ones paying for it.” and “Why would you need a monorail that just goes directly to the Hard Rock stadium. I think you need to work on the public transportation getting people around versus showing up for sporting events and concerts.”

The proposed monorail line would cost at least $50 million per mile — $150 million per mile if it were made in the USA.

That cost would be borne in part by the one penny increase in sales taxes that Broward voters approved for themselves last November, though this project wasn’t yet being discussed when that tax increase passed.

But look deeper at the idea, and it makes a bit more sense. With the scrapping of the much-maligned Wave streetcar project, Broward transit officials were looking for new light-rail solutions that were a step above the proposed downtown Fort Lauderdale streetcar service.

And as for the tax, of the $16 billion it’s supposed to generate, $1.4 billion is earmarked for “new light rail transit infrastructure.”

Plus, officials in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties were trying to come up with a transportation link along Northwest 27th Avenue (known as University Drive in Broward) long before the monorail idea.

The initial Broward portion of the proposed monorail would run from the county line to the area of Davie that includes Nova Southeastern University and satellite campuses of Florida Atlantic University and Broward College. The vast majority of the proposed line, in other words, would be in Miami-Dade.

Among those negative Facebook comments were several that approved of the idea.“Many people look at construction costs without realizing how many jobs would come from it,” wrote one reader.

“Much, much needed,” wrote another.

Is this a good use of the funds generated by the new transportation tax? What other uses would you like to see the money go to? Let us know by emailing or tweeting @Daniel_Sweeney. Your response could be used in a future story.

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