Sunday, June 21, 2015

PSTA misses another opportunity for funding as a grant request disappears from the State budget

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog

In Friday's PSTA planning meeting the subject of the disappearing million-dollar PSTA State budget line item came up briefly. The response from the PSTA administration was "we will make an application to FDOT and get the money from them".

It is hard to tell if the decision to pass on a budget line item for a PSTA grant is just a State budget issue or a not so subtle message to the PSTA Board and Pinellas County.

It could just be that the people who actually control the way money flows in Tallahassee are sending a suggestion that it is time for the PSTA to clean up its house and replace the team that pushed all of the limits in the GreenLight debacle up to and including the misuse of Federal FEMA funds which ultimately had to be returned.

I am not sure why any State or Federal funding agency would want to get in bed with Brad Miller and a public board that condones his misuse of federal funds and then gives a vote of confidence to those who misused the money.

The PSTA Administration cited State Senator Jack Latvala as the likely emissary to help acquire the FDOT funds. The good Senator might want to think twice before he hitches his star to an organization that views outright misuse of funds as "bad judgment".

There is no doubt that public transportation in Pinellas County is a major problem. But the real problem at PSTA is how it is being run. It may be time for a call to the governor's office and full scale complete review of PSTA and its Board.

These public transportation boards made up of elected officials sound good on the surface, but in reality all they seem to do is centralize everything bad about elected officials and their in ability to really represent the citizens.

FDOT should be cautious about turning over any funds to PSTA unless there will be extensive follow-up on how they are used.

Probably the most difficult thing to understand is why the PSTA Board has not moved to replace CEO Brad Miller who was at the center of all of the shenanigans at PSTA.

Then again maybe it's really not too hard to understand at all.

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