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the sky is not falling

By enelson
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007 at 8:11 pm in Misc. Transportation.

gov-in-la-subway.jpgSo we have a state budget, assuming the governor agrees to sign it.

Very few people are surprised that transit money from the fuel-tax “spillover,” which was flush with cash because of rising gas prices, got raided to pay for other stuff.

I noticed a few things, however. One, that all the warnings about fire and brimstone, dogs and cats living together were somewhat subdued after the Senate’s last required Republican holdout finally agreed to cave.

At BART, there might still be more frequent weekend service, with wait times no longer than 15 minutes.

At AC Transit, the threat is that they won’t be able to build their surplus (now at 10 million) back up as soon as they’d hoped.

Not exactly armageddon.

At the High-Speed Rail Authority, they’re talking about muddling on with their paltry $20.7 million, even though not getting $104 million cold cost them a year.

Probably the most solid argument against what the governor and legislature have done with public transit funding has to do with last November’s election, when voters approved a $20 billion transportation bond.

Clearly, people thought transportation needed a boost. A press release on CalPIRG’s website uses this tack:

And what about respect for California’s voters? Last November, voters went to the polls and approved $48 billion in public investment bonds, including Proposition 1B, which was supposed to provide new money for public transit. This budget now uses that money to replace regular transit resources. “The voters articulated their support for public transportation by passing Propositions 1A and 1B in 2006. This budget subverts the will of the voters who were told that these funds would add resources for public transit that serves everyone,” said Sharon Sprowls, Interim Executive Director of Odyssey, a statewide transportation organization based in Sacramento.

Prop 1B will still give transportation a boost, however. Imagine what things would have been like without it. Our reps in Sacramento would still raid the spillover and there’d be no new transit projects on the horizon.

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2 Responses to “the sky is not falling”

  1. david vartanoff Says:

    actually the sky is falling but we can’t see it for the pollution. building new projects from 1B funds is all fine BUT with transit agencies facing shortfalls courtesy of fuel/energy prices service levels are more endangered by the pilfering of the spillover funds.

  2. Capricious Commuter Says:

    David, you did it yourself: “service levels” are “more endangered.” That doesn’t rise to the level of concern that, say, a bus strike would. I’m not saying that this budget was great for transit, I’m just saying that considering this was a tight budget year and that so much of state spending is locked in by voter initiatives, transit could have done much worse. At the BART board meeting Thursday, the new general manager was beaming about how the agency was lucky to have some extra money pay for some quality-of-service improvements, like hiring more cleaners, even beefing up cleaning the outside of cars (I’ve always said to myself, if only those cars sparkled a bit more, I’d ride BART more often). At no point did I hear, as I did weeks earlier from the same folks, “oh, but for that awful state budget …”

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