Tolls- No Tolls

My neighborhood is adjacent to a small beach town that has a bridge to connect us. Interestingly, the road that leads to the  bridge and to my neighborhood is controlled by this small town (Treasure Island, FL). In their short-sighted wisdom, they are considering adding a toll to the bridge. This  would require me to pay a toll to go home even though I live in a different city (St. Petersburg) and NEVER leave my city to go home.

 

I helped create a website to share and capture information on this topic as part of a civic cause. It is frustrating to experience such short-sighted thinking.

 

www.treasureislandbridgetoll.com

 

Some additional information on this topic:

 

This website was created and moderated by the Hollis family, residents of Yacht Club Estates. While we think that Treasure Island CITIZENS should be able to make their own choices, we are activists in this cause because of the threat of paying a toll just to go to our home, no matter which city we visit (Treasure Island or St. Petersburg)! We pay higher property taxes in St. Petersburg (in comparison to Treasure Island) and resent being in this situation.

 

As a businessman, I think repressive taxes (e.g., tolls) inhibit economic progress. Over time, the vicious cycle of economic decline causes a once quaint and prosperous beach town to become extinct. Restricting visitors will restrict tourist revenue in the city, which casues the residents to be taxed more, make them slowly leave, decline property values, and increase property taxes. Not a new phenomenon, but one that many politicians ignore.

 

So, adding a toll to the Treasure Island Bridge is a bad idea for Treasure Island.

 

***Other rantings that are entirely my views and opinions***

 

A rebuttal to comments that "the bridge has to be maintained and it's not fair for the residents of TI to pay for it alone."

 

One, why would you agree to have the federal government build a bridge you can't afford to maintain? Why not chose a $20M bridge that gets people across the water?

 

Two, if there was not an agreement with Representative Bill Young to remove the tolls, then they would not have been removed. It's seems vague and unethical to say that you agreed to remove the toll so you could get a new bridge, BUT you didn't mean the promise to last very long.

 

Three, how did the old bridge become dilapidated and dangerous while collecting tolls for decades? If the tolls had been appropriately invested in the maintenance of the old bridge, then there would NOT have been a reason for it to be replaced. Where are those funds?

 

Four, why would a city ignore the position of their own businesses and residents?? This has been a trend with TI since I moved here a few years ago, including the recent litigation between local business and the government regarding parking on the beach. Makes you wonder the wisdom of the leadership -- the same leadership that has spent several hundred thousand dollars on a cracked sidewalk.

 

Lastly, TI has lower property taxes than St. Petersburg and still enjoy municipal services (police, fire, etc.). But now they want  others to be "fair" and help them pay for their bridge. There are approximately 6,700 citizens of TI, so charging a $100 per citizen fee will create $670,000 in new revenue, which covers most of maintaining the bridge. Use the increased taxes from visitors to the city to get the rest. TI residents will still be getting a lower total tax experience than St. Petersburg residents, and no one will need to pay a toll just to get to their home!

 

 

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Comments: 1
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