There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Money and influence

Down in Elk Grove, the City Council is deciding what to do about the transit system it buys from MV Transportation in Fairfield. As The Bee explained back on July 19:

When the city of Elk Grove unveiled its new transit buses four years ago, it laid claim to the nation's only all-hybrid municipal commuter fleet.

Then came the bus fires.

Now the 21-bus gasoline-electric hybrid fleet costing $10 million is sidelined, and the city is suing the manufacturers and other transit-related contractors for breach of contract.

Among the complaints: at least four bus fires, some 30 catastrophic engine failures, noxious exhaust fumes inside buses and buses unable to achieve freeway speeds with full passenger loads.

Now it's clear that e-tran, the city's transit agency, is destined for change. Elk Grove City Council members say they need to raise fares and increase scrutiny of the city's transit contract.

In the next few months, they will consider cutting ties with transit operator MV Transportation Inc. of Fairfield when its contract ends June 30. MV is one of six defendants named in the city's May 20 lawsuit.
One course of action to be considered, according to staff, was returning to Sacramento Regional Transit. Given RT's current fiscal mess caused by state funding uncertainty, the idea does seem a stretch. And then there is Elk Grove's history with RT. There's a reason Elk Grove decided to go it alone rather than rely on a distant agency to meet its transit needs.

So it wasn't surprising at all when, on July 24, a majority of the Elk Grove City Council members said the option of returning to RT was a nonstarter.

"My point of view is going to RT is like going back to the Dark Ages," Councilwoman Sophia Scherman said. She was joined by Councilmen Jim Cooper and Michael Leary.

But is there something else involved? suggests maybe there is.

The Sunday, July 27, post reveals "Scherman’s 5,000 reasons not to return to the ‘Dark Ages’."

According to Scherman's campaign Web site, her top donors include MV Transportation, which gave a hefty $5,000.

Very interesting, indeed.

No comments: