Traffic Light Synchronization
In just three days the people of Gainesville will elect or re-elect a mayor. Incumbent Pegeen Hanrahan takes on challenger Wesley Watson. The two candidates disagree on many issues. But there is one item both would give the green light.
Every traffic light in Alachua County will be getting synchronzied to help with the traffic problem. This will make driving easier after certain events like football games. And both mayoral candidates agree it's something needed. But challenger Wesley Watson doesn't agree with the cost. Wesley Wastson says, "I don't believe it should cost 20-million. If done 3 years ago it would have cost 12-million. Now it's another 8-million." And Pegeen Hanrahan says, "It's not like the city can write a check for 20-million or put it on a credit card. It really takes a lot to scope the project, and have everything worked out."
Hanrahan also says the initial 12-million was a rough estimate, and the 20-million is based on harder data. And if the half cent sells tax would have been passed in 2004, the project would start sooner. But Watson has another problem. Watson, "I don't believe we need to synchronize every light in the county." He says that would lower the cost. But Hanrahan says they've done several studies to making sure the project will be a success. Hanrahan's response is, "It's easy for someone who hasn't been in meetings. And hasn't gotten an understanding of the technical scope of the project or different funding partners on the table."
Hanrahan says the project will not increase taxes. It's being paid through existing revenues by the City, County, UF, and the Florida D-O-T. She also says the city is getting different bids from contractors and the new synchronization system should be in place by 2009. We'll find out if this issue affects the election this Tuesday.
By Gavin Johnson, WCJB TV 20 News
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