The big breaking news is in:  The Hart Bridge Ramps to downtown are coming down and our taxpayer dollars will pay for it.  Pay for Mr. Shad Khan — a billionaire — to see his dream become a reality.

 

Forty-five years ago, the citizens of Duval County paid to build the Hart Bridge and its elevated roadway to facilitate travel to downtown Jacksonville.  Now, the city has twice the population and Shad Khan demands that the ramp be removed before he will proceed with the Shipyard project.  This will coerce everyone to drive through his planned development to reach downtown.  As someone who uses the Hart Bridge to reach downtown several times a week, I resent traffic being slowed for Mr. Kahn’s benefit.

 

Before we begin the work to intentionally worsen traffic going downtown, we should demand to know the full price that taxpayers will pay to enable Mr. Kahn to build his riverfront development.  I’ve had multiple politicians tell me that we will find out the citizens cost to develop the Shipyards only after the Mayor’s race is decided.

 

I am reminded that not a single dollar of city, county or state money went into the TownCenter development.  It was well planned and entirely financed privately.  I guess building in a cow pasture is not as risky as building on prime riverfront land.

 

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Rick Hartley is a native of Jacksonville. He attended local schools and graduated from Jones College. He enlisted in the Navy following high school in 1969. Following his active duty enlistment he remained in the Naval Reserve, retiring after 30 years as a Master Chief. He loved the Navy and going to sea! He has been involved in sales his entire life. He also has been involved as a volunteer in every election cycle since 1972 when he worked on Ander Crenshaw’s first run for the State Legislature. He served as Chairman of the Duval County Republican Party between 2012 – 2014. Rick has always had a strong interest in local government. He served as a Waterways Commissioner for 2 years.

 

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