The Public Transportation Scam

Nationally transportation is the second largest household expenditure consuming 16% of family income. Americans spend on average $7,677 annually on transportation related costs (e.g. vehicle purchase/lease, gas, insurance, maintenance, repairs, etc.).

According to the most recent National Household Travel Survey 8.68% of Americans own no vehicle while 22.79% own three or more vehicles. The survey shows that since 1969, “the number of households with no vehicle had been declining while here has been growth in one, two and particularly three vehicle households.”

Americans prefer to own their means of transportation. Most travel occurs from point to point – e.g. home to work, school, grocery store or doctor. Personal transportation provides Americans with a solution that best meets their individual needs.

However, over the past decade government has become more involved in promoting public transportation.

Government collects trillions of dollars in taxes from the sale of petroleum products, cars and related services. Yet, today public transportation has been embraced more and more by governments at every level. Government is seeking to: reduce carbon emissions, save money and reduce traffic congestion. But does it meet any of these goals?

Given the fact that only 8.69% of American do not own a vehicle, the need for public transportation is insignificant.  With 91.31% of Americans owning one or more vehicles public transportation is becoming more and more costly with less impact on government’s stated goals and return on investments.

A comparison of national and Florida trends reveals that the distribution of households by number of adults is very similar. However, the distribution of vehicles differs with Florida having fewer zero-vehicle households but also fewer 3, 4, and 5+ vehicle households.

Florida has a higher share of one vehicle households compared to the nation.

Two-thirds of zero-vehicle households are single adult households nationally and in Florida. Further comparison demonstrates Florida has a higher share of households with equal or fewer cars and fewer share of households with more cars than adults.

Expenditures for vehicle travel, specifically fuel taxes and vehicle registration and license fees, are part of the revenue streams that are collected by local, state and federal governments to pay for transportation infrastructure. The fuel tax in Florida is comprised of components levied by the federal, state and local governments. Florida’s fuel taxes range from $.45 to $.53 per gallon. Florida imports nearly all of its refined petroleum products.

Florida’s public transit strategic plan promotes “transit’s role in enhancing the environment, including air quality, energy and greenhouse gas reduction.”

According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), “The private sector makes significant investments in transportation infrastructure. This is particularly true in Florida where infrastructure investment is often a prerequisite to permission to develop. Private sector contributions are as modest as providing employee and customer parking to as significant as paying for major roadway facility improvements and/or donating right-of-way and infrastructure.” These costs are part of property ownership with development costs borne by property owners.

The transportation issue is especially important for Florida due to our high volume of tourists. Cheap and reliable energy and transportation are necessary to sustain and grow Florida’s economy.

During 2010, Florida’s transit agencies ranged in size from the three-vehicle system in Hernando County to the 1,131-vehicle system operating in Miami-Dade County. In 2010, there were 35 fixed-route public transit systems operating in Florida.

FDOT reported that public transportation costs in 2009 were: Operating Expenses of $1,015,050,830 and Operating Revenue $233,922,989. In 2010 Operating Expenses were $985,647,670 and Operating Revenue was $254,316,041. Florida taxpayers subsidized public transportation in 2009 at $781,127,841 and in 2010 at $731,331,629. In 2010 the cost to transport one public passenger was $2.33 with an average fare being $.85.

During 2009-2010 Florida lost over $1.5 billion supporting public transportation.

Does spending $1.5 billion over two years to service less than 8% of the population worth it? Given the burden is being born by those whose budgets are already being stretched to the limit, many taxpayers are saying go private and let those riding pay to ride.

Romney’s Chick-Fil-A Moment

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney was video taped at a private fund raising event in Boca Raton, Florida. During his remarks he noted that today a large number of Americans are dependent on government and would likely be voting for President Obama.

Erick Erickson, CNN commentator and Editor of RedState.com, called this “Romney’s Chick-Fil-A moment”.

Erickson writes, “Just a few months ago, Dan Cathy of Chick-Fil-A, gave an interview to a Christian publication that asked him about the Chick-Fil-A Foundation’s support of marriage. Cathy defending his position and spoke about his family’s faith. CNN.com picked it up and ran a story that Cathy had come out against gay marriage.”

“The Chick-Fil-A controversy animated a whole lot of people. It just turned out that the people it most animated were the people who agreed with Dan Cathy. So it is, I think, with Mitt Romney’s comments,” noted Erickson.

The question is will Romney take advantage of it and use it as his defining moment? Will Romney fully embrace his position of wanting less government and make good his pledge to reduce dependency on government?

Kate Obenshain, in Divider-In-Chief, writes, “Obama’s governing coalition is made up of the very rich and those dependent on the government in some way.” Obenshain notes in 2008, “The only income group Obama lost in the general election was those with household incomes between $50,000 and $75-000 – the middle class.” In 2008 “Hillary Clinton was seen as the middle class candidate”.

Obenshain writes President Obama characterizes the Republican philosophy as, “We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.” That is what Governor Romney essentially said on the video.

Will he stick with it as conservatives like Rush Limbaugh want?

According to Limbaugh, “This could be the [golden] opportunity for Romney and for that campaign to finally take the gloves off and take the fear off and just start explaining conservatism. Start explaining liberty to people and what it means, and explain that they don’t have to be in that 47%.”

Limbaugh noted during his radio show, “We don’t want 47% of the country thinking that there’s no hope for them.  We don’t want 47% of the country giving up.  And, like I say, I don’t think all 47% are made up of people who are dependent, but I know what Romney was trying to say to these people.  He was basically telling these people that we have reached a crossroads in this country.”

The Heritage Foundation reports, “It is true that nearly half of all tax filers—those who are filing an income form with the IRS—pay no federal income tax. It’s also true that millions of Americans receive direct government support in a host of ways, including income, food, housing, medical care, school lunches, and more.”

In 2009, 47 percent of all tax filers paid no federal individual income taxes, and in 2011 that figure was 46 percent. This raises a crucial question, as Heritage’s Alison Fraser points out: “Should nearly 50 percent of Americans really be exempt from funding the most basic constitutional functions of government—along with education, food stamps, energy, welfare, foreign aid, veterans’ benefits, housing, and so forth?”

“The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living!” – Dan Cofall, Wall Street Shuffle August 1, 2011.

Obama at Loyola University 1988 – “I actually believe in redistribution”:

Watch the video of Mitt Romney commenting on the 47% in Boca Raton, FL:

RELATED COLUMNS:

Obama, the great divider by Jeff Jacoby

Column: Romney’s answer to editorial

Shocking! A US Presidential candidate tells some home truths!

Government Dependency Rises As Number of Taxpayers Declines

Romney Tells the Truth: Conservatives Applaud, Media and Dems Go Nuts

The New Slavery Of Obamanomics

Toll is a Four Letter Word for Tax

Central Florida currently has eight toll roads and one Interstate (I-4). The Interstate is currently the only freeway highway in Central Florida. The tolls were supposed to be a “temporary tax” to cover “the initial construction costs”. However in Central Florida, the Florida Turnpike is now 55 years old, the BeeLine Expressway is 45 years old and the East/West Expressway is 39 years old and the toll taxes are higher today than ever before. Additionally, in South Florida I-75 turns into a toll road, known as Alligator Alley, at Naples and goes to Ft. Lauderdale.

Sally Baptiste from AmericanStatesman.org notes, “Bottom line – toll roads have become a cash cow for the state of Florida and other states. In the case of the BeeLine Expressway, the initial construction 45 years ago was only 6 million dollars. Through my research I also learned that the Florida gas tax money is used to pay for ‘general state expenses’ and not the roads.”

“The politicians will never admit that highways are the LEAST expensive form of transportation and the number one choice of Americans. The politicians are perfectly content to ignore citizens in support their special interest groups. The politicians are perfectly content to ignore the transportation facts and waste our tax dollars in the interest of their personal agendas,” states Baptiste.

Baptiste provides the following points about toll roads in Florida and across America:

  • Toll taxes go AGAINST the public interest. They do not “promote the general welfare” of the people.
  • There are better ways to increase funds for roads with no tax increase or a very very minimal tax increase. However, this requires those in public office to work in the best interest of the people – not their special interests and in some cases their own financial interests (i.e. OOCEA Scott Batterson is one example).
  • Toll taxes are nothing more than a tax against the people.
  • Toll taxes have nothing to do with improving transportation. “Tolls create gridlock”.
  • Toll taxes are a cash cow for the State of Florida and the local municipalities.
  • Toll taxes are regressive. Lower income individuals are harmed the most and toll taxes represent a major expense to small businesses.
  • The “User Fee” explanation is inaccurate, but is easy way to lure taxpayers. It ignores all the taxes we already pay for use of the roads and everyone pays for “Toll Abuse”. Everyone’s cost of living goes up and disposable income is reduced which takes money out of the local economy. These are a few of the costs associated with “Toll Abuse”.
  • The Interstate Highway system was seen as one of the best economic investments made. It supports the economy, national security, law enforcement, emergency services and improved the quality of life for all Americans.
  • The privatization of public assets and infrastructure is part of Agenda 21. The goal is to limit mobility of the American people and make money for government in the process. This does not “promote the general welfare” – toll taxes go against the public interest.

Baptiste asks the typical Florida motorist: Would you rather pay $1200 a year in toll taxes PLUS $300 gas taxes or $400 in gas taxes with access to all roads?

To learn more visit StolenLanes.org.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) “Running Scared”?

Florida is considered a key state that must be carried by President Obama to win a second term. There is only one statewide race and it is for the U.S. Senate. Incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) will be challenged by the winner of the Republican primary election held on August 14, 2012. The winner of the Senate seat will help his or her party carry the state of Florida in November and can determine which party will hold a super majority in the Senate.

According to Powerline.com there are a number of Senators “running scared” when it comes to raising taxes on those making over $250,000 a year.

Paul Mirengoff, in his column “Has Obama Carved Out The Wrong Class Against Which To Wage War?” states, “Now look at the states these candidates are running (scared) in. Three of them — Florida (Nelson), Virginia (Kaine) and Nevada (Berkley) — are among the small number of states that are rated toss-ups in the presidential race, and are considered key to winning the presidency … What does this mean? Unless Nelson, McCaskill, Kaine, and Barkley don’t know their states, it means that Team Obama’s decision to to raise taxes for people making more than $250,000 is likely to hurt Obama in states, and among voters, that he needs to win.”

Seung Min Kim, Manu Raju and Scott Wong from Politico report, “President Barack Obama’s renewed push to raise taxes on people who make more than $250,000 is facing some strong head winds: [With] Democrats running for Congress in 2012 … Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson’s ‘favored’ position is to permanently extend the Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $1 million, according to his office.”  Read more.

Real Clear Politics shows Florida to be a toss up with President Obama leading Mitt Romney by an average poll margin of 0.8 of a point.

Martin County, FL State Committeeman calls for President to be Impeached

(Stuart, FL) – Martin County Florida’s Republican Party State Committeeman Eric D. Miller today accuses President Obama of “defying the Constitutional separation of powers mandate by his recent Executive Order granting a mass de-facto amnesty to illegal immigrants”. Miller also urged “the immediate filing of impeachment charges in a letter to Congressman Thomas J. Rooney and Congressman Allen West“.

Miller noted that Obama’s Executive Order is far more than a creative interpretation of a President’s constitutional prerogatives and authority. Miller writes, “In addition to violating Constitutional separation of powers, President Obama measures are in direct violation of existing federal immigration statutes which he is sworn to uphold. His latest re-election ploy of issuing an illegal executive action granting amnesty to more than 1 million ‘illegal’ aliens constitutes a high crime and misdemeanor warranting impeachment under Article II, Section 4.”

“I commend Congressman Allen West, who is running to represent our newly created North Palm Beach – Treasure Coast district for immediately bringing this grave Constitutional issue to the public’s attention. It is now incumbent upon all Republican Party leaders to demand the President’s impeachment as the appropriate Constitutional remedy,” states Miller.

Text of Miller letter to Congressman Rooney:

20 June 2012

The Honorable Thomas Rooney
171 SW Flagler Avenue
Stuart, FL 34994

Mr. Congressman:

I like you have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and protect it from all enemies foreign and domestic. It is for this reason that I call upon you to formally call for impeachment hearings against Barak Hussein Obama.

The latest and most recent unconstitutional maneuver on his part is a crime. He does not have the authority to override law as established by Congress, of which he has done once again in his latest executive action.

The Executive action is a clear and blatant attempt to influence his re-election and is in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States.

Therefore, as State Committeeman of the Republican Party in Martin County, I suggest and accuse Barack Hussein Obama of crimes against the State and I call upon you to move the process of impeachment forward to preserve the integrity of the Constitution of the United States.

Yours in service,

Eric D. Miller
RPOF State Committeeman
Martin County

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