Special: Go Hillsborough – A Proponent Has His Say
Two Roundups ago, we quoted some comments from a reader in favor of Go Hillsborough. (See “Transportation – The Continuing Saga of Go Hillsborough“) Because we used his comments out of context and so they were a bit disjointed, we offered to post a more prepared statement if he wanted to make it. He did. So, without further ado, his comments (we have only edited them for a little and without deleting any points or changing the substance).
This is the best plan one can expect with these elected officials and this electorate.
It is better than most thought could get done and I personally believe it’s a good plan. But, even if you disagree, it is, at minimum, the best plan we can get right now with these elected officials and this electorate.
This is very true and the essence of the debate over Go Hillsborough. The truth is the plan isn’t what I would design. It’s obviously not what advocates against Go Hillsborough would design either. However, for the first time since I have been involved, the “do nothing” crowd does not exist. The tea party, the left, the business community, the urbanists, and the politicians agree *something* has to be done.
So the choices are do something like 2010 and try and spend most on transit and lose with the electorate, do something like 2007 and spend almost all on roads and set us even further behind, or try shift our spending towards smarter growth now.
This plan does that [the last one]. 57% of the money goes to transit, buses, sidewalks or complete streets. Of the money that’s left, only half goes to new roads and widening. The rest goes to signals, intersections, and safety measures. In fact let me note  the county voted to do take on part of the suggestion that you posted of mine to offload the resurfacing to the budget and shift that money to other projects — and none went to widen or new roads.
This is how this whole process has been. It started at 40% for alternatives and now it is at 57%. But there is another reason it’s a good plan — because of what it does not do. It is not a road tax to fund mostly building new roads like the CIT ended up being. Most of the money isn’t for cars, but not just that **less money than any other plan in the history of Hillsborough goes to new and widened roads**.
It focuses on smarter ways to deal with traffic. Computerized signals, redone intersections, and the 2010 referendum would have had us spend more than twice as much money on new and widened roads than this proposal in the first ten years. Sure, we would have spent tons on transit but the tradeoff then was a half-billion dollar road expansion.
Some argue not enough goes to this or that. Some hate they didn’t write it and others will demand monorails. We won’t get what we each want — it’s part of living in a community. This plan isn’t just a result of this process; every project but one is part of the long-range transportation plan. The system is actually working in this case — and that is what many don’t want to know.
In 2012, no one wanted to talk about transportation. But about 3 years ago in March of 2013 hundreds of citizens showed up at County Center to ask the Commission to start the process that became Go Hillsborough. This is the end result of citizens working with their government. It’s resulted in mobility fees that will collect far more from developers; it’s resulted in taking care of a massive resurfacing backlog; and it’s resulted in a plan forward for the next ten years.
And the plan is a concrete step forward. It may not have been pretty or exactly what any individual wants. I believe it will get better and be the foundation for a future where transportation choices become a part of our lives and allow us to change direction on transportation.
We are also willing consider posting a response, if someone is wants to submit one, provided it sticks to the subject matter, is polite, makes relevant points, and comports with our editorial policy. In keeping with out view that the policy is the important thing, not the person, we will also not list the name of the author. Finally, please note that we reserve the right, for any reason, to edit and/or not post any submissions.