Please make certain as much publicity as possible is communicated about the public hearings for the proposed RTA 2010 Service Plan. Full details of the proposed plan can be found at http://www.riderta.com/budgetchallenges/2010fareservice.asp, and the details of the scheduled hearings are at http://www.riderta.com/hearings/.
Something I cannot stress enough is that people need to be prepared to come to these hearings with something more than "please don't cut my bus". This is not anything that the Authority wants to do, but our hand has been forced by the economic realities dealt to us by the state and federal government, as well as the overall economy. Any proposal to retain a route scheduled to be cut must be offset by an equal cut somewhere else in the system, or else must result in some increase in operating funds available to us.
A few facts to share (taken from the links above):
* County sales tax revenues for 2009, the major source of RTA's operating budget, are forecast to be down nearly $19 million from their 2008 level
* Passenger fares, which account for only ~20% of RTA's operating budget, are forecast to be approximately $4 million down at the end of 2009, largely due to decreased ridership (ridership down ~ 13.6% for 2009, largely due to the economic downturn)
* The State of Ohio, for 2010/2011, will provide only $10.6 million, to be split among all transit agencies throughout the entire state, for operating support -- this represents less than 3% of the operating expense needs of these systems, where the average state provides approximately 23% operating support
* RTA has cut 100 staff positions over the past year, and about 700 since the year 2000, and all non-union salaried staff have taken a 3% pay cut this year, with no merit increases in 2009 or 2010
What I need to also communicate is that the Authority and its passengers need to be on the same side. To that end, we will have opportunities available at each of the hearings for customers to send written and/or e-mailed letters to state and federal representatives urging more operating support for public transit.
I encourage you to distribute the information about the hearings as widely as possible. Our legislators need to see the impact of the mess they've created.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Additional RTA thoughts
Neighborhood resident, Northeast Shores board member, avid RTA user, and RTA employee, Mike Cermak also had several thoughts about the public transportation budget crisis and what is facing the neighborhood. Below are his thoughts and comments: