The cost of not funding public transportation

Posted on February 16, 2011 by Alex Roman - Also by this author

Last week, Proposition 1 in Lakewood, Wash., which would have raised a sales tax by three-tenths of 1 percentage point to help pay for bus service, was defeated 56 percent to 44 percent. As a result, Pierce Transit is set to recommend a reduction of services by 20 percent in October and another 15 percent early next year, to help shore up its budget issues, according to a News Tribune report.

If passed, Proposition 1 would have raised $30 million a year to further subsidize the public transit system; however, the agency is now set to meet at the end of February to discuss how to reduce service from 618,000 hours a year to about 401,000 hours.

The reduction plan, which has been unveiled and discussed at numerous public meetings, includes changed routes, some discontinued routes, longer waits between buses, shorter service hours and the discontinuation of some special-event services.

The defeat of the bill this week, ended a long, bitter battle between advocates and opponents, and brings up another painfully obvious fact: with more federal support of public transportation, agencies around the nation wouldn't have to struggle to provide services for a still steadily growing ridership base.

The argument for more federal support also brings up the fact that we still have no plan in place to fund a new authorization bill. The simple answer seems to be the raising of the gas tax, which is unpopular on both sides of the aisle as one party is intent on cutting spending while the other is trying all it can to invest in the future.

Although raising taxes is an unpopular solution, raising the gas tax also seems to be the only solution. So, what is your gut feeling on whether that will ever happen? And, if it doesn't happen, what are some thoughts you have to help transit agencies around the nation that are slowly inching toward facing a doomsday-like scenario with their budgets?

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, which asks if America can remain a super power without high-speed rail here.

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (5 Comments)

More From the Editor's Blog Posts

July 17, 2019

Fighting against human trafficking is everyone's duty

U.S. traffickers have been shown to use all modes of transportation to find their next victims. Initiatives are being placed to combat trafficking and empower operators to act. 

June 26, 2019

Focusing on ‘abilities’ gives those with disabilities a ‘sense of purpose’

I recently learned about a program offered by Transport for London that provides “people with mild to moderate learning disabilities and those on the autism spectrum the chance to gain skills and work experience.”

February 12, 2019

Come Together to Shut Down the Shutdown, Fund a Transit Bill

As I write this, we are a few days away from another potential government shutdown if negotiations on border security are not hammered out.

December 19, 2018

New Year, New Hopes for the Motorcoach Industry

Hiring and retaining drivers is the greatest challenge facing motorcoach operators, according to 70% of respondents of METRO Magazine's 2019 Motorcoach Survey. The public transit industry is not immune to this issue either.

November 6, 2018

When voting 'yes' says 'no' to funding for transportation

I’m crossing my fingers that by the time you read this, the proposition repealing California’s gas tax and vehicle fees (SB 1) will have failed.

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (5)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation