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

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TransitAction and RT's board inaction

I should clarify some stuff from yesterday's post. I was dismayed that the majority of the board didn't have the common sense to see that making people pay to park in RT lots was an unfortunate but necessary choice.

What riled me and prompted the blog post headline "Taking the name of choice riders in vain," was the repeated claim by board members that paying for parking would be "punishment" and would drive away choice riders.

Yes, some people might decide the added hassle of paying for parking was the straw that breaks the camel's back. Fine. But the staff didn't propose charging for parking because they wanted to punish anyone. As staff explained to the board, the district is facing the complete loss of all state support next year. It had been hoped that the $14 million in economic stimulus money would cover the loss, but the board learned last night that a decline in sales tax revenue caused by the tough economic times could leave RT looking for millions of dollars to fill a budget gap.

Free parking is a subsidy that RT can no longer afford. A $1 charge is not unreasonable.

The fact that a majority of the board couldn't see this simple fact was what prompted my snide comment calling the district's draft TransitAction Plan "a long-range vision for Sacramento that is, in a word, fantastic -- as in 'marked by extravagant fantasy'."

Can you imagine, even in your wildest fantasies, these board members selling anyone on the idea that everyone benefits from transit and therefore everyone should contribute, that the transit service envisioned in the TransitAction Plan is so valuable that the small increase in taxes necessary would be more than paid back in real, measurable ways?

It's a joke, a sad joke, made even more tragic by the fact that the TransitAction Plan is actually a visionary document that shows what could be if only the board members believed.

Last night I picked up a copy of the TransitAction Plan documents. These are PDF copies

Forward (.2MB)
Executive Summary and Glossary (6.7MB)
Chapter 1: Introduction (.4MB)
Chapter 2: The Transit Challenge (1.2MB)
Chapter 3: Existing Conditions: The Regional Transit Audit (2MB)
Chapter 4: A Transit Vision: Putting The Passenger First (.6MB)
Chapter 5: TransitAction Plan Scenarios (8.9MB)
Chapter 6: The People's Plan: Stakeholder And Public Inputs (.8MB)
Chapter 7: The TransitAction Plan (16.9MB)
Chapter 8: An Integrated Approach To Service Planning (3.1MB)
Chapter 9: Finding The Funding: How To Pay For The Plan (.7MB)
Financial Advisory Plan: Summary of Discussions to Finance the TransitAction Plan (3.1MB)
Transit-Oriented Development Final Report (2.1MB)
Slideshow presented to Board March 2, 2009

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