Letters to the editor
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Everyone has a stake in public transit
While many have eloquently pointed out the important role transit plays in the economic and social well-being of our region, the debate continues to center around who will pay for the $64 million shortfall. Many feel the state should ante up. The governor and the business organizations want the transit workers to take the hit. The nonriders think it should be the riders, while the poor and disabled know if the route cuts take place they will pay in terrible human terms.
This is the debate to nowhere. Everyone has a stake, and it shouldn't be too hard to show that putting 45,000 more people on our roadways will cost everyone more in traffic delays, gas costs, business inefficiency, time and increased air quality deterioration than stopping the cuts will.
Taxing for transit and transportation reflect our understanding that it's more effective to collectively fund these needs. It also reflects past experience that private enterprise can't adequately provide this service. Government also can do regionwide strategic planning that evaluates what the transportation/transit system needs to be going forward. That's what our transit debate is missing. Where is the vision for the next 10 to 20 years? Because that's how long it takes to plan, approve, finance and build transportation systems. And that shows everyone how they are connected to the issue.
We need to pony up to close the current deficit. The state should do its part without condition. Those who can most afford it and those who aren't paying now should step up to keep it from falling on those who are struggling in this economy. Then we should put a real regional transportation/transit vision on the table and figure out how to fund and build it. Now that's worth a healthy debate.
First Published 2012-03-07 23:34:13