Thanks Gov., Even with Prop A City Facing Long-Term Transit Cuts

3_26_09_dash.jpgPhoto: Divwerf/Flickr

It may be 16 months away, but thanks in large part to the Governor's and legislature's complete victory over transit riders when they re-worked the budget and completely eliminated the transit operating deficit back in February; either fare hikes or service cuts or both are coming to the City of Los Angeles' transit services. 

In a report to the City Council Transportation Committee, LADOT officials estimated that the city's transportation dollars from Proposition A, which fund LADOT's transit services and other things, would be in the red starting sometime in 2010. 

LADOT listed two reasons for the over $200 million yearly deficit in the city's Proposition A fund starting in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.  The first was lower than expected revenue, and the second is that the city will no longer receive any funds from the state to help subsidize transit.  How big is the deficit?  It's so large that if the city cut every DASH, Commuter Express and charter bus route, the city would still have a transportation deficit in the coming years.

Thus, the LADOT is undergoing a six month plan to figure out how to balance its books.  The early draft plan is to use Measure R local return funds (so much for the city spending the bulk of these funds on bicycle and pedestrian projects as the Mayor promised last year), make some other budgets and cuts to city-run bus service.  Councilman Parks asked the LADOT if fare hikes were in the mix, and the DOT responded that nothing is off the table.

So while the Governor is flying to D.C. for photo-ops and television appearances about the importance of investing in transportation; transit agencies around the state are scrambling to avoid draconian service cuts because of his policies. This might be something that people aren't used to hearing, but transit riders are actually lucky if they live in Los Angeles.  Because city residents have voted multiple time to tax themselves, our transit agencies, both Metro and LADOT, can put off major service cuts while it seems everyone around us is experiencing major cuts.

The LADOT report isn't yet available online, but when it is you can find it here.