Today's Beacon brought us a letter from Bob Hedrick, former Vice Chairman of the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA). It's butchering of the facts could only be taken seriously at a Marian Manor breakfast.
1. "The rest of the story is history as the 'Sportsplex' is a white elephant...."
The big problem is that the Mariners were saddled with ownership that had ambitions much bigger than their bank accounts, and 3 of the 4 ownership groups were absolute idiots.
2. "The ridership will not sustain the debt service, operating and maintenance cost without a subsidy from the taxpayers pockets, higher taxes."
First of all, Hedrick obviously doesn't understand light rail economics. It's not the "ridership" that will sustain the debt service, but the tax revenue off the redevelopment it induces.
Second, there isn't an unsubsidized mass transit system in the U.S. So Hedrick's point is...what?
3. "We the people' voted against light rail in 1999 and if light rail was put forth on a referendum again it would garner the same results, a majority vote of NO."
Hedrick knows that's not true. John Moss has trotted out a "wait and see" light rail position for his Mayoral campaign. If Moss knows he can't run for Mayor as openly anti-light rail, why does Hedrick want to pretend a clear majority is opposed? (Okay, other than that line playing well at VBTA breakfasts....)
4. "I was in Houston, Texas, several months ago and saw the light rail system ...almost empty."
Yeah, that poor Houston system: it's 2007 ridership was ahead of 2020 projections. http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_lrt_hou.htm In Virginia Beach we hope to have that kind of "failure"....
5. "Virginia Beach City Council spent our tax dollars on a consulting company to look at our city for the feasibility of a light rail system. The consulting company said the answer was no, the population was spread out over a geographical area that was not suited for light rail."
Of course, all prior to December, 2003. That's when our current Comprehensive Plan was adopted, which put in Strategic Growth Areas along the Norfolk Southern Right-Of-Way in order to facilitate it's use as a mass transit corridor.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and the VBTA."