Change for Better Economic Opportunities
When Amazon started looking for a new location to build their second headquarters, they had a very specific list of criteria. They sent this list out for cities to be able to create a proposal that addressed their needs. I'm attaching just a part of this letter that shows why Pasco lost out, and will continue to lose out if we don't make some important changes...
There are a couple of key areas I want to point out...
"Potential to attract and retain strong technical talent"
We do not place enough emphasis on education in Florida. In Pasco County, we pay our teachers even less than in surrounding counties. Our schools in Pasco rank lower than those in surrounding counties. This is not something that says to Amazon "we have strong technical talent." We need to put more emphasis on education. This includes technical schools along with our primary education. Improving our education system from the ground up will improve our chances for the next company looking for where to locate.
"Direct access to rail, train, subway/metro, bus routes... On Site"
Pasco has failed to provide public transportation systems that work. The bus routes we have in Pasco simply don't work. While we work on getting a rail system for the area, we can at least improve the bus system. Light rail could connect Pasco to various parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas in addition to connecting east and west Pasco. A collaboration on the parts of the Commissioners of every district along with the House Representatives and Senators of the area would be required to really get this going.
While there are other aspects, like building requirements, that didn't work for Pasco County this time, we might meet those other aspects when the next big company starts looking. If we fix our public transportation and education system, we will be poised to put up a a fight for the next big thing.