2 responses to “Budget hole big enough to drive a bus through”

  1. Barry

    Thanks Abel for calling attention to this, most budget analyses have ignored it.  It seems RIPTA will get some  debt service relief (as RIDOT has already gotten) and the deficit number they face seems fluid depending on latest estimates and how you count retiree obligations.  But a serious funding shortfall seems probable.
    Unlike Brazil, most of the RI working population doesn’t use transit, can afford a car, gets “free” (that is, subsidzed) parking and thus sees RIPTA mainly for the poor or disabled.  There is no critical mass of middle class users to care about it.  Contrast this with the wide public outcry in the East Bay about Sakonnet tolls, though we just built them a $200 million bridge and there is only a puny 75 cent charge proposed for regular users to to cross.  (In contrast, $2 to ride RIPTA from South Providence to downtown)
    I think those who want to see transit thrive, for their own mobility, or to help further social, environmental, economic or land-use goals, will have to confront the many ways driving is favored.  For example, every state employee (and all URI-Providence and RIC students) get free parking (and no transit incentives), and you may have noted the budget is including about $3.5 million for buying/paving an empty lot near the State House for more parking, + an earlier story on the state asking to lease 300 parking spaces when moving about 150 DHS employees back to Central Providence.  No wonder RIPTA (and the commuter rail) struggles.

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  2. Robert Malin

    Predictably, as lampooned in the Coalition For Transportation Choices videos, the State House turned it’s back on Modern Mass Transit in favor of playing the hero in the fall and patching up the shortfall.
    You can watch them while sign the petition –
    Support Sustainable Funding for RIPTA | Clean Water Action http://www.cleanwateraction.org/ri/SupportRIPTA via @cleanh2oaction
    by clicking here.
    We have to realize we can’t have a modern economy without modern transportation. This is something that we have to expand. Not to mention, our roads and bridges need a break. 

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