The Star reports that KCATA’s 2010 budget will have plenty of bad news for transit users: fare increases, service cuts, and depleting reserves.
Fixed route services have been spared, unlike in this year’s budget, but the “swing shift” service — providing taxi rides to late night workers after regular service hours — will be cut.
Even worse is news that the agency’s reserves would be depleted by 2014 unless new revenue is secured. There is no silver lining yet for new revenue, but there are state and federal efforts that may provide relief.
At the federal level, climate change legislation may provide funding for “clean transportation” using revenues from the cap-and-trade system that will control greenhouse gas emissions. A new transportation bill is in limbo, with no indication operational funding would be available.
Regarding state assistance, KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer indicated a new transportation initiative is on the horizon, but that effort has yet to report on what funding would be available for transit. Missouri currently ranks near the bottom in state transit funding.
Locally, city leaders continue to passive-aggressively underfund KCATA by using money from the 1/2-cent transportation sales tax — the one with no sunset — for “other transportation uses”. A separate 3/8-cent “bus tax” was renewed in 2008. The TIF orgy of the last decade also hasn’t helped maintain stable funding.2 comments