Posts Tagged ‘Local politics’

30th October
2008
written by Arizona Kid

City of Phoenix proposing bus fair increase – Read the Republic article HERE. It will be fun to watch and see if our neighbors up north can pull this off.

If you remember a few months back,  Tucson city government almost crumbled over a proposed .25 cent bus fare increase.  Here is a timeline of events from the Star:

1. Hein submitted a budget to M&C showing a large loss at Sun Tran.

Then – read more about the story by clicking.

2. Uhlich accused Hein of lowering the subsidy for Sun Tran, causing a shortfall that forced the council to consider a hike in bus fares. Uhlich demanded to the AZ Star editorial board that Hein:  “own his mistakes” — apologize and explain why the $36 million general fund subsidy of Sun Tran and Van Tran was reduced in the next two years’ budgets.

3. Hein fired off an e-mail earlier Thursday in which he slammed council aides for meddling in council affairs and took offense at the council’s implication he had purposely cut the transit-fund subsidy to hurt the poor.

4.Uhlich said she has not been getting timely or accurate information from the manager’s office, adding that she doesn’t know if “deceit, incompetence or just being overwhelmed” were the reasons behind it. (I loved that statement)  

5.Council member pile on: Leal jumped in with Romero criticizing Hein for moving the Greyhound station. Scott complained about Hein’s treatment of the police union. Romero objected to Rio Nuevo’s handling of west side projects and general accountability.
  

 

6.Hein, who returns from vacation in two weeks, laid much of the blame on council aides who do their own research and “do not have the strongest public-finance background or technical experience.” That’s coupled with aides’ historical distrust of the city staff, which he said is “hyper-reactive, but sometimes lacks the political acumen and a pulse on the community.”

7.
Leal fires off an email demanding Hein’s head – while Hein is on personal vacation. The email apparently got sent PRIOR to the vacation but it got lost in Internet land. The Geek Squad looked into it and couldn’t confirm it was sent, lost or written early.
  

 


8.
Everyone backs away from Leal and goes out of their way to praise Hein.  

9. Tempers cool,  Uhlich calls for a budget auditor which Tucson voters voted against 20+ years ago but hey, another layer of government can’t hurt…or can it?

This story goes right up there with Leal locking himself in Pima County jail over night. This is better than Barney Fife and an episode of The Andy Griffen Show. Great You Tube HERE.

Back to the actual issue at hand – Tucson heads into a $55m budget short fall and can’t seem to increase a bus fare that hasn’t increased in over 8 years.  In the eight years Sun Tran increased routes, service times and ridership is way up.
As a result, Glock said, the share of Sun Tran’s operating cost covered by fare revenues has dropped from 23 percent in 2000 to about 19 percent today.
Without the fare increases, or an increased taxpayer subsidy, transportation officials calculate Sun Tran would rack up a $1.1 million shortfall next year, and a $3 million shortage the following year.
She said she doesn’t want to burden passengers with higher fares, especially when other costs are rising steadily. But she also doesn’t want to see service cuts, which transportation officials say will be needed without the fare increase.
“My goal is to keep the fares as low as we can while still being fiscally responsible with our bus services. I would not keep fares low if we had to scale back bus service,” Uhlich said.

Read the Star article HERE.

The fares in other major markets:
Phoenix $1.25,
Albuquerque $1,
Colorado Springs $1.25,
El Paso $1,
Las Vegas $1.25.
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