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What Metro and Its Riders Will Lose in State Budget “Deal”

11:36 AM PST on February 17, 2009

2_17_09_wad.jpg

Two articles written over the weekend highlight just how grim the new state budget is to transit riders, especially those in Los Angeles County.  For those of you that took off early on Friday, the Governor and legislature's compromise budget, the one that continaully falls one vote away from passing, would completely eliminate the state's transit operating subsidy for transit agencies.

The first piece was written by Kymberleigh Richards of the Southern California Transit Advocates and a Board Member of Metro's San Fernando Valley Service Sector for the Daily News.  Richards points out that California voters, especially those in Southern California, have voted repeatedly to fund transit expansion and that the Governor's frequent raids, enabled by the State Assembly and Senate, are a slap in the face to every voter that has ever voted for transit.  Especially those that supported Measure R.

Guess what will be tapped to backfill that loss?That's right - the Measure R funds that the voters approved to increaseservice but will now be used just to maintain the status quo.

Making matters worse, the Measure R operating subsidy won't be enough to replace all ofthe lost state funds, so Metro may still have to cut as much as 160,000hours of bus service next year to bridge the gap. So, even though thevoters of Los Angeles County voted for an increase in service, thelawmakers in Sacramento will make it necessary for Metro to reduceservice instead.

Making matters worse, we can now see the impressive planned bus service increases that Metro would be proposing if the state wasn't destroying the ability of transit agencies to expand.  At Metro Rider, Wad published the list of bus expansions that Metro was planning before the state budget crisis threatened to withhold over $230 million of transit subsidies.  If you're a masochist and want a more complete picture of what Sacramento's posturing is costing us, head over to Metro Rider and have yourself a good cry.

Photo: Wad/Flickr

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