Letter: In my defense

Sam Saad III, Member

Naples City Council

Critic doesn't get it

I am writing in reply to Duane Bilington's letter criticizing my demand for a cost-benefit analysis of the Collier Area Transit (CAT).

First, Billington clearly does not understand the history of the Naples Municipal Airport or the current reality. Sixty years ago, the city petitioned the state to form a separate authority and leased the land to the new entity because the city was losing $400,000 per year from the airport. Now the NAA is a self-sufficient entity that pays for itself from fuel tax revenue — no subsidies from the city or Collier County. Contrast that with the 80 percent subsidy for each ride on CAT.

Second, I absolutely oppose redistribution of wealth for the benefit of the rich, which is another reason why I oppose the county subsidizing the CAT system. One of the reasons the county formed the CAT was lobbying by the big hotels on Marco Island that wanted the county to take over their private shuttle service to Immokalee for employees — corporate welfare.

Finally, as someone running for public office, how can Billington oppose demanding accountability from government? That is all I am asking for with my questions about the CAT system — accountability.

Moreover, if the elected representatives are not asking these questions, who will? My questions to the Metropolitan Planning Organization are the same questions I ask city staff about proposed city projects: Whom does it serve? Why is this necessary? Could we better use the money elsewhere?

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