RTA TAKES US FOR THE WRONG RIDE

Submitted by Roldo on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 14:06.

Is RTA taking us on another ride? As a transit system, it seems more like a servant of the same old special interests when it should be taking care of transit-dependent citizens.

 

Yes, I believe the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) does have a money problem with sales taxes and ridership down. Raising fares hardly seems the solution.

 

However, I also know that RTA hasn’t paid enough attention in the past to its spending. If it did RTA wouldn’t have to be cutting crucial services now.

 

We’re being told that there is a $5.5 million problem. The solution for RTA’s management is to cut services and raise the price by 25 cents.

 

That appears to be not a palatable solution.

 

If CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese and his RTA board can’t find $5 million in his more than $240 million (2008) budget, then we need to get someone who can do the job.

 

RTA has become too accustomed to providing services that aren’t really necessary. Too comfy saying yes to the downtown scrounges.

 

The Euclid Corridor Improvement Project (Health line) was a perfect example of spending transit money for non-transit purposes. The road was plenty wide for RTA buses. I’d like to know the annual upkeep costs of this Euclid Avenue beautification program.

 

If you’ve got a lot of extra money to spend, fine, beautify. However, RTA’s primary task is to move people from where they are to where they need to go, especially working people who can’t afford private vehicles.

 

RTA spent $69 million of OUR dollars for the Waterfront line, rushing it to please Mayor George Voinovich and his buddy Dick Pogue. They wanted it up for the opening of the Rock Hall of Fame and their parties. To get it done, RTA had to forget about federal subsidy, which probably would have covered 80 percent of the cost. The Waterfront Line was ill planned and now it ill serves.

 

The Waterfront Line service has been cutback. It’s important that RTA tell us just how much it costs to keep this line operating at any level. Maybe it should be mothballed totally.

 

Equally unnecessary for RTA was the walkway from Tower City to Gateway, a cost of some $11-million to $13-million. I’ve never been able to get an undisputed figure. RTA has to “reimburse” Tower City for utility charges on the walkway.

 

It’s time RTA got tough and told the Gateway Economic Development Corp., which operates the Gateway facilities, that it has to pick up the cost of the walkway and pay to have its fans delivered to its doors. Why should RTA’s riders pay for this?

 

Despite the fact that these RTA facilities help Tower City, RTA pays some $1 million a year to Forest City Enterprises, owner of Tower City. It’s annual fee for RTA’s use of space into Tower City. RTA pays an addition $32,000 to “reimburse” Tower City for central plant operations. It even pays a utility charge for use of the escalators! There’s room for negotiations here to lower costs.

 

Isn’t it time to renegotiate these fees lower since there’s less use and Tower City seems to always get reductions of its property taxes?

 

The County or the State needs to provide more funding to RTA too. Why shouldn’t there be subsidies for mass transit? It’s a method of lowering pollution and reducing traffic. We build enough roads for cars.

 

A small surcharge on every car in the County each year should produce the kind of revenue needed for mass transit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you want to get in touch

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he's paid $$$ and he can't cover a 2% budget adjustment???

 nice points, Roldo, on a much overlooked topic.

Customer service is nOt RTA's forte. Apparently, budget management is not either. When is our city going to stop taking it?