Archive for February, 2009

Expressway Authority Considering Rate Hikes

I’m continually astonished by how ignorant of remedial economic concepts like supply and demand our local government seems to be. As people’s budgets tighten in these economic times and we find ways to spend less and more wisely for things like entertainment and travel, the consistent mantra of public service providers has been “raise prices”. It’s as if they have no awareness of why people are scaling back on activities in the first place (here’s a hint: they have less money.)

First downtown parking rates increased (thanks to the Orlando City Council’s vote) and now the Expressway Authority is considering a hike of their own. I think the toll road increase is even more aggravating, because they at least partially understand the economics of the issue. They cite “11 months of dwindling ridership” as the reason for revenues being down. What do they think will happen as a result of increased costs of using the roads? If you guessed further decreases in ridership, then YOU are more qualified than everyone on the Expressway Authority.

Every day I face a choice of either taking traditional roads such as highway 50 or state road 436 to get where I am going for free, or jump on the 417 or 408 and save myself somewhere between 10-20 minutes. Under the proposed rates the routes I would usually take that comes out to $3 one way, so each day I would be spending $6, or $30 per week, or $120 per month. Currently that same activity costs me $90 per month. I make that decision to save that 20 minutes about 50% of the time (just mornings), because $90 a month is pretty steep, so say I am worth $45 per month to them. Let’s say that instead of raising everything a quarter, you actually lower the 2 plazas I hit by 25 cents each (keeping the off ramps at 25 cents). Now 100% ridership for me only costs $70, or I am contributing $35 per month at my usual 50%. Say because of the lower prices I decide to take the toll roads just one more day per week than I used to. Now I am spending $49 per month instead of $45. That’s how it works guys, lower prices, keep tolls out from under my personal budget cutting pen, and actually pick up a little extra revenue in the process. People do it everyday selling stuff like cereal and beans, why can’t we put at least as much brain power into transportation issues?

At $120 a month, I will just set my alarm 20 minutes earlier and spend nothing on tolls anymore. How many more people are going to do the same?

Gatorland Welcomes White Alligators with Florida Resident Discounts

Gatorland has announced they will soon be having some special guests visiting. Four white leucistic alligators will be appearing starting February 13th for a limited engagement at the reptile wildlife theme park.

These rare alligators are ivory white in color and have deep blue eyes. They are about 10 or so feet long and weigh over 500 pounds each.

These four reptiles were originally part of a group of seventeen babies discovered deep in the swamps of Louisiana. Most of the others didn’t survive, and experts are unsure if any others exist in the world.

To entice locals to check out the new albino-like guests, Gatorland is launching a Florida Residents special discount of only $9.99 a ticket per adult. Proof of residency is required and the promotion ends on February 28, 2009.

For more information, visit the Gatorland website.

Coalition for the Homeless Needs Blankets

It’s truly winter here in Central Florida with temperatures dipping down into the teens at night. Hopefully you’ve all been able to keep warm.

But with the record low temps we’ve been having the last few nights, I just wanted to let you readers know that if any of you have extra blankets or other coverings that you can spare, the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida could really use them.

As you can imagine, with the ultra-cold weather, they have more people than ever needing their help…and yours.

So if you have any items you can donate to the Coalition, please visit their website at centralfloridahomeless.org for directions or call 407-849-2754 for more information. You can also find them on Twitter @cfl_homeless.

Line-Up Announced for Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2009

It’s that time of year when Universal breaks out the party floats on weekends to celebrate Mardi Gras Florida style and this year features a well-rounded line-up of musical guests.

Here’s the rundown of the concerts, which fall on Saturday nights, unless otherwise indicated:

Feb 07 – KC & the Sunshine Band
Feb 14 – Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
Feb 15 – Village People (Sun)
Feb 21 – Ne-Yo
Feb 28 – Pat Benatar ft. Neil Giraldo
Mar 07 – Barenaked Ladies
Mar 14 – Montgomery Gentry
Mar 21 – Collective Soul
Mar 27 – Boys Like Girls (Fri)
Mar 28 – Kelly Clarkson
Apr 04 – MC Hammer
Apr 11 – Trace Adkins
Apr 18 – Nelly

Admission to Mardi Gras is included with any regular Universal Orlando valid ticket or annual pass. There is also the option of a special Mardi Gras ticket that gives the holder admission to Universal Studios after 5pm, plus admission to select CityWalk clubs after the concert.

Visit Universal’s Mardi Gras page for all the info on tickets.

SeaWorld Bud & BBQ 2009 Line-Up Announced

The annual Bud & BBQ festival kicks off at SeaWorld Orlando this weekend. The down-home-style event pairs country music with a barbeque buffet and ice-cold Budweiser for a series of Saturday concerts.

Here’s the line-up for this year’s fest:

Feb 07 – Blake Shelton
Feb 14 – Kenny Rogers
Feb 21 – Daryl Hall & John Oates
Feb 28 – Jason Aldean

Admission to the Bud & BBQ events are included with all SeaWorld tickets, Fun Cards and annual pass options. Food and drink are additional.

For more information, visit the Bud & BBQ website.

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