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Monday, August 1, 2011

Petition to save RIPTA

RI, like a lot of states, struggles to fund its mass transit system, despite record levels of usage.  Why is that?  What are the economics behind a booming ridership and financial loss on revenue?  How do you preserve an asset that bleeds cash, but clearly serves a public and environmental need?

There is an effort to maintain RI's transit system as is.  Here's a site that offers information and a chance to support the petition.  We are happy to publicize their efforts, and would love to see a balance reached between good operations and positive or, as least, break-even financial performance:

http://www.change.org/petitions/save-ripta

Here's a description: 

OVERVIEW

"With demand for transit service at record levels, now is NOT the time to reduce bus service in Rhode Island. Public transportation is vital to the health of the state’s economy and environment, and it benefits riders and non-riders alike. RIPTA provides affordable convenient access to transportation that makes it possible for those who can’t drive to get where they need to go, lowers individual transportation costs, eases congestion, and reduces carbon emissions.

Public transportation also makes important contributions towards alleviating the serious national challenge of energy security, and it encourages more active lifestyles that help combat the obesity epidemic.

Unfortunately, RIPTA has a structural deficit problem because its funding comes from the declining revenues of the gas tax, at the same time that its operating costs are increasing due to higher fuel prices. For the economic, environmental, and social well-being of Rhode Island, we call on the General Assembly and Governor to create a secure and stable funding mechanism to ensure that there will be no cuts to public transportation service."
 
Does it make sense to have their funding tied to a gas tax when, clearly, RIPTA's job is to get cars off the road? 
 
The business side of green effects us all, from towns to cities to states to countries to a world economy that, for too long, has been fueled by fossil fuel.
 
We'd love to hear your comments.

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