Inspector General Finds Greenlight Pinellas in Full Compliance with Law

The Florida Department of Transportation’s Inspector General is set to release a report stating that PSTA’s Greenlight Pinellas educational outreach is in full compliance with state law on public communications.

“We are thankful for the very thorough review by the Inspector General, and commend him and his staff for their diligence,” said Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority CEO Brad Miller. “PSTA always strives to be a responsible steward of taxpayer money, whether keeping nearly 200 buses on time daily or educating Pinellas residents about their transit options.

And because PSTA believes in full transparency, we will be posting the Inspector General’s final report on our own website at GreenlightPinellas.com, where anyone can view the report.”

The report indicated there is no evidence that Greenlight Pinellas communications violated any law, or used any state funding. Excerpts of the report are below.

On the report’s findings:

“We reviewed expenditures for the Greenlight Pinellas campaign to determine if PSTA violated the advocacy provisions of state law. Our review disclosed no evidence that PSTA Greenlight communications contained text prohibited by law. We also reviewed state funds available to PSTA through department grant agreements to determine if they were used in accordance with laws, rules, regulations and provisions of the grants. We determined PSTA did not use state funds to pay for the Greenlight campaign.” [Report 14C-6007, Page 1]

On Greenlight Pinellas expenditures:

Our review disclosed no evidence PSTA campaign expenditures violated the advocacy provisions of state law. Communications on PSTA’s ‘Greenlight Pinellas’ website, advertisements and promotional items contained no text prohibited by law nor any ‘magic words’ which would expressly advocate for electors to vote ‘yes’ in the referendum. Orders for promotional items were reviewed and there was no evidence these items contained statutorily prohibited phrases.” [Report 14C-6007, Page 7]

On No State Funding of Greenlight Pinellas:

We determined no state grant funding was used to finance the Greenlight campaign. PSTA requested and received direct authorization from the [Federal Transportation Authority] for the use of federal funds for Greenlight educational messaging and branding, including development of a Greenlight website.” [Report 14C-6007, Page 8]

“Based on our review, we determined PSTA did not invoice or expend [Florida Dept. of Transportation] funds to pay for the Greenlight campaign. … There is no evidence the department reimbursed PSTA for any Greenlight expenditures against any of the state grants.

The Inspector General’s final report, when posted, can be viewed in full at http://www.dot.state.fl.us/inspectorgeneral/fiscalyear2013-2014.shtm

About Greenlight Pinellas: Greenlight Pinellas is a transit improvement plan incorporating feedback from the public, the business community, planning agencies, the Pinellas Alternatives Analysis and Community Bus Plan. The Greenlight Pinellas plan is a comprehensive, countywide transportation improvement proposal to help Pinellas County develop the most efficient and economically viable transit service possible.

www.GreenlightPinellas.com

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1 Comment

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One response to “Inspector General Finds Greenlight Pinellas in Full Compliance with Law

  1. JohnB

    “Our review disclosed no evidence that PSTA Greenlight communications contained text prohibited by law. ”

    The real question is – did PSTA comply with the intent of the law? Is it necessary to hand out trinkets, pins, pens and yard signs to educate the citizens of Pinellas County that PSTA is threatening to cut bus service by 30% if Greenlight does not pass.

    Does PSTA educate anyone about the increased tax revenues PSTA will receive? That PSTA plans to allocate $2.5 BILLION (90%) of the funding to a train from St. Petersburg to Clearwater? That only $300 million (10%) of the funding will be used to “improve bus service by 65%?”

    The increase of $114 million/year tax will be paid by those who DO NOT own property. Property owners will pay about the same sales tax as they are now paying as property tax, which PSTA says will be eliminated.

    Does PSTA tell voters that property owners will pay the same or less tax than non-property owners? Wealthy property owners will actually pay LESS tax and non-property owners will pay MORE tax (the increase of $114 million).
    Commissioner Susan Latvala explains that here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ykd2vtjys8 (start at 6:45).

    The average fare on PSTA is currently 91 cents. PSTA could pay for the $300 million, 65% bus improvement without raising taxes. All they have to do is raise the average fare to $1.40-$1.50 for those riders who do not qualify for discounts.
    for discounts.

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