A good decision on Handy Bus fare
Cheers to Manatee County commissioners for this week’s vote to keep the Handy Bus fares at $2 and not increase the cost to residents who can ill afford another dollar, especially those on an inflexible income that could have forced the choice between food and medications to offset the higher tolls. The value of this paratransit service cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
That transportation should be viewed s a critical life preserver for individuals who lack any other means to get to medical appointments, grocery stores and other essential places. Who would possibily object to taxpayer support of the handicapped individuals dependent on this transportation?
The cost is $2 each way, so those residents are paying $4 for a round trip. At $6 for there and back, decisions about paying for medications, food, housing and other essentials are all too difficult, especially when frequent trips are imperative. The $90,000 county commissioners authorized to spend to avoid a Handy Bus fare increase pales in comparison to the almost $570 million proposed county budget for 2016-17.
One more time on Cortez Bridge
Jeers to the Florida Department of Transportation for putting Anna Maria Island and Cortez residents — as well as all of Manatee County — through yet another public presentation of the options for repairing or replacing the Cortez Bridge. We already know the alternatives. All too well. We keep discussing the same thing over and over.
This seemingly annual FDOT exercise would drive a genius like theoretical physicist Albert Einstein nuts. He is credited with his very profound definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Here’s a Herald headline from August 2014: “FDOT to address future of Cortez Bridge. Public can ask questions at Thursday’s meeting.”
Bridge repairs began months earlier, in April 2014. FDOT also answered questions from concerned citizens then, too. What questions are left?
Is the agency’s goal here to wear down the public, exhausting opposition to a high bridge? That’s what occurred with the Anna Maria Island Bridge connecting Manatee Avenue with Holmes Beach. As far back as 2001, FDOT assured the public that “a nice quiet sit-down” would take place in a discussion over options that included a 65-foot high bridge. Public opposition was stiff to such a tall structure. Today? A high bridge will be built there.
That’s certainly a non-starter for Cortez, which would be destroyed by a high bridge’s landings. Still, FDOT won the last war. Insanity? The agency did get a different result on the other island bridge after all those years and all those public meetings. Over and over again, they returned to talk.
FDOT’s next public meeting on the Cortez Bridge will take place on Aug. 9 from 5-7 p.m. at Saint Bernard Catholic Church’s activity center, 248 S. Harbor Drive in Holmes Beach. The four bridge options on the table? A 21-foot vertical clearance drawbridge, a 35-foot vertical clearance drawbridge, a no-build repair option and — guess what? — a 65-foot vertical clearance fixed bridge.
Quote of the week
“We appreciate what they do and we are glad to have them here tonight.”
— Sharon Garvin, talking about law enforcement officers as one of the hundred people attending an “All Lives Matter” event Monday featuring guests from Manatee County law enforcement agencies, this in the aftermath of shootings of both police and civilians around the nation.
The Bradenton Herald, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Manatee Educational Television will hold a candidate forum on Tuesday in two key Democratic primary contests. The three candidates for the Florida Legislature’s House District 70, Christopher Czaia, Dan Fiorini and Wengay Newton, will discuss their qualifications and policy positions at 4 p.m. In the Congressional District 16 race, Brent King and Jan Schneider will talk about their views beginning at 5 p.m. Herald Editorial Page Editor Chris Wille will moderate the forums. The forums will be held on the USF campus at Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. METV will videotape the forums for air play leading up to the Aug. 30 primary.