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WRTA has a huge challenge persuading suburban voters



Published: Sun, July 20, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

After the overwhelming defeat in March of the 0.25 percent Mahoning County sales tax for the Western Reserve Transit Authority, this question must be asked: Has there been such a sea change in the attitude of voters in the suburbs that a November vote will bring a different result?

An honest response would have to be no. The 51,337 voters, mostly in Youngstown’s suburbs and rural communities, who rejected the tax four months ago have not had an epiphany. But does that mean they can’t have a change in attitude?

No, it doesn’t. But to make it happen, the WRTA will have to launch a campaign that goes beyond appealing to residents’ sense of community and humanity.

In the current economic climate, any tax issue faces an uphill battle. For the transit authority, the challenge is doubly difficult. That’s because most people outside the city of Youngstown do not consider public transportation important for their daily living.

Indeed, a majority of the riders live in the city, and only Youngstowners now pay two property taxes that generate $2.6 million a year for the WRTA. That revenue is far less than what the agency needs to continue even the reduced service it has been offering since the defeat of the countywide tax in March.

The 0.25 percent levy would generate about $7 million, which would enable the WRTA to restore full service, including Saturday runs.

While voters in the city remain committed to public transportation, there isn’t a large enough tax base to meet the financial needs of the service.

No choice

WRTA Executive Director James Ferraro says the agency had no choice but to return to voters in Mahoning County in November because the bus service is running out of gas — literally and figuratively.

If the countywide levy is rejected again, it could be the end of the WRTA.

But that warning alone won’t sway the nonbelievers. What should be done?

As a first step, the agency should make public how every $1 is spent, including how much Ferraro and other employees are paid — the cost of benefits must also be included — and how that expenditure compares with public bus services of similar size.

Then, it should show how the two property taxes paid by city residents compare with taxes paid by other localities.

Finally, the WRTA should provide financial projections of what the ultimate cost to taxpayers will be if the agency is dissolved.

It is worth repeating, as we have on other occasions, in expressing our support for the countywide tax and for the WRTA, in general: When the agency discontinued some routes on weekends and evenings, the Mahoning County Department of Job and Family Services was forced to pick up the slack. It has been estimated that it costs $800 a month per client for taxi or van-type transportation, compared with the cost of a monthly ticket for WRTA of $42.

Without a doubt, we are experiencing tough economic times, which is why the needs of lower income residents must not be lost in the shuffle.


Comments

1Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

“It has been estimated that it costs $800 a month per client for taxi or van-type transportation, compared with the cost of a monthly ticket for WRTA of $42.”

Even a supporter can not provide a cogent, persuasive argument in favor of the county tax. First of all, the $42 for a monthly ticket in no way reflects the true cost to taxpayers of those bus rides. The WRTA refuses to publish total cost per passenger mile. Since they will not provide honest total dollar cost per mile, which would include depreciation of facilities, equipment,busses and other capital items as well as total labor, fuel and other cost, I am going to call it at $5.00 per passenger mile. Now let’s assume the “Mahoning County Department of Job and Family Services” “client” makes 1 round trip 5 days a week of 8 miles each way. The math is as follows; 4 ¼ weeks per month :times: 5 days a week :times: 16 miles (round trip). That comes out to 340 passenger miles per month for this “client”. Now 340 miles per month times $5.00 per passenger mile is $1,700.00 per month which includes the $42 ticket. We have a $1,700.00 per month per “client” versus the $800 for alternative transportation or $200 per month for a used car payment and gas.

Is my $5.00 per passenger mile high? If you think it is, prove it by getting the total cost for the WRTA. Otherwise, due to the lack of any alternate actual cost information, I stick by that $5.00. Any way you cut it, these “clients” are treated better than the tax payers who are supporting them.

Next argument ---

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2lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I am a suburban homeowner, but I work in the city (at the University, specifically). My husband and I voted yes for the WRTA levy the last time it was on the ballot, and we'll vote yes again. Many of my students who live in the city must rely on the public transportation system to get to and from class, and these students already too often fall through the academic cracks.

I tire of the anti-city rhetoric of some of my suburban "neighbors" (the quotation marks indicate the looseness with which I use the term). City and suburbs are one. We need to support our region, and not worry only about our own backyards.

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3Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Lucy, I have worked in and utilized public transport in cities I have lived in. HOWEVER, those cities were always open about the cost and budgeting associated with the service and the service was bi-directional. Y-town service is from the city to the suburbs with service from the city to the city. There is no significant flow from the suburbs to the city and little economic advantage to the suburbs from the service. I tried to utilize the WRTA for myself and my children (in the suburbs) when I moved to the area over 15 years ago and I found that I was not a desired demographic of the system. Read that as an inner-urban system, utilized by urban residents almost exclusively.

Due to your self-interest (Y-town state employee), you are willing to support the system because it is an advantage to you (providing students). Please do not ask me to believe “these students already too often fall through the academic cracks”. The students you speak of have a disproportionately high level of grants and ‘free’ money compared to the overall student population, as evidenced by the early college program for Y-town students. These students are well served by federal and state tax dollars. To expect them to provide their own transportation does not seem like an undue burden when their education is free. I even rode a bicycle multiple miles to college in the winter when I could afford no other means of transportation while I was paying for 100% of my education.

Lucy, in short, we have a transit system that declines to be open about all cost and expenditures which can no longer rely solely on the city for funding that is attempting to tax a population that will not benefit from their tax dollars. The city of Youngstown has collapsed below even the classification of a ‘small city’, but refuses to cut the number of employees or be open about its expenditures. The JEDDs, WRTA, soon to be Chevy Center and other “REGONALIZATION” efforts are but an effort to spread the cost of operating a bloated and likely corrupt city government to those who have no say in the collection or use of their money. Jay has shown his true self in his attempt to extort money for the Wal-Mart planned for Liberty after demolition of existing structures has been completed.

If the WRTA levy will benefit you, your business or your family AND you implicitly trust your tax dollars to be spent wisely regardless of lack of accountability, vote YES for the WRTA levy. I think I just heard a resounding NO though.

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4lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Bullchip, I didn't ask you anything, didn't address any of your comments specifically, and didn't seek to engage you in any kind of discussion. In fact, I didn't even pay much attention to your comments. I'm not interested in either your opinion or in participating in an prolonged rhetorical battle with you about this subject; find someone else to antagonize.

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5lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I meant "an ongoing and prolonged rhetorical battle." Apologies for the typo.

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6George412(161 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

That's alright Lucy, Bullchip is always looking for a fight. Read his other 70+ comments. Of course, no discussion of the WRTA is going to proceed without the barely veiled racism underlying Bullchip's phrasing like "not a desired demographic of the system." And of course, he'll bring up Youngstown Early College, as if that has any bearing whatsoever. What's that called, Bullchip, misdirection?

I'll ask you Lucy, and don't answer if you don't want to, are any of your students even enrolled in the Youngstown Early College?

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7lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

George, the answer is "no." I've never taught any YEC students.

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8Education_Voter(816 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I just went to a meeting at Lakeland Community College, in Lake County, which includes Kirtland, Mentor, Painesville, and Willoughby. It's nice to get out of Mahoning County. This little college had buses pull up at the administration building about every 15 minutes. The buses were more elaborate than ours too. They looked like the best charter buses. From the routes listed on the front of the buses, it looked like they ran through all the above communities. Why are we in Mahoning Co. so determined not to work together?

I work on South Avenue. I observed that a bus stop at Boston and South was consistently used by students and adults heading toward town.

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9city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

When I first moved here 8 years ago, I lived in Austintown. I had no problems using the bus. So, how is it that the suburbs get nothing from a restored/expanded WRTA?

Bull_Chip, can you show how you determined that it costs $5 to tranport a passenger 1 mile? Or is that just a wild guess? Keep in mind that most capital improvements are paid for through other sources of income. New buses, facility improvements, the demolition of the Salvation Army building, for example, weren't solely paid for by the residents of Youngstown; there was quite a bit of help from government grants, etc.

I will agree with you that, how the WRTA spends their (our) money, should be available to the public.

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10MCIGUY37(9 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm tired of hearing about WRTA and YOUNGSTOWN and all of THEIR issues. Youngstown is dead. It's sad, but it is. WALMART doesn't even want to go there so why would anyone else. It's a shame. I'm 37 years old and live in Mahoning county so I have some life experience in the valley and remember the "good ole days" with Idora Park, the booming steel mills polluting yet making lots of money for the valley and all that jazz. BUT, WRTA running all over the county has nothing to do with the majority of the hard working or retired (who have worked hard and EARNED their retirements) citizens of the Mahoning Valley! Let me tell ALL of you who I see those WRTA buses bring into Boardman on a daily basis. I see the bus pull up at the Southern Park Mall at about 9:30am with SEVERAL losers from the "city" who have nothing better to do than ride the bus, FOR FREE due to welfare, to the mall and literally hang out for the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon in the mall. They don't buy anything. They just sit around or lay around outside and bring down the property values of Boardman Township. (not to mention make the mall look bad) Drive down Rt.224 in the afternoon and look around. Y'towners moping around from store to store or just walking around because there is ABSOLUTELY nothing to do in the city. There's nowhere to shop and nothing constructive to do in the city unless you are a YSU student or work for a hospital or law firm downtown. I am educated and realize there are others who need those buses but at what cost? Why should ALL of Mahoning County pay the price for the small amount who really deserve it and the majority of "slackers" who have absolutely no ambition in life or desire to EVER have it get a free ride to Boardman just to cause trouble or look for it there at our expense? I am familiar with the Lakeland Transit company posted in an earlier comment. That works great because those buses bring hard working people and students from rural and suburban Cuyahoga county to the thriving city of Cleveland daily. There's a REASON to go downtown. That transit system works because of it. And so do many other transit agencies across the nation because there is a reason to go downtown. Our corrupt politicians from the past have done irrepairable damage to this valley. YES, the "I'll take care of your ticket or DUI if your company paves my driveway or builds my barn for nothing" mentality for over 50 years has caught up to us and there's no return to the "good ole days" because of it! WRTA take a hard look at New Castle Transit and see what they ARE doing right because they are thriving!

The idea of "regionalization" needs to start at downtown Y'town and grow outwards. BUSES AREN'T GOING TO HELP! Mayor Jay, If you can get a WALMART within the city limits then we'll see about a county wide tax for buses.

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11city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

OldManGrump, why not vote yes? Then, you can demand transparency from the restructured board. If they don't provide it, vote no when the sales tax comes up for a renewal.

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12Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Interesting concept, first you give a bureaucrat money and then you ask them to be open and honest? After 12 years that I am aware of complete disclosure NOT being provided, we will trust them in the future!

Since this is your mode of thinking, I have some wonderful beach front property available with no down payment and only $325 per month, with 1 grace month for every 11 months the payments are made in a timely manner. Please e-mail your bank account number to me with authorization to your bank so that I can set up a direct withdrawal so that you are assured of receiving that grace month every 12 months.

After you have agreed contractually to payment in full for this arrangement, I will provide you the location and nature of that beach front property.

You can e-mail your information to me at the address associated with my screen name.

Also, the DNA tests were faked on the blue dress.

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13city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

LOL, you seemed to completely miss the last sentence in my previous statement.

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14Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

No, I saw that, I just ignored it. How many years will we be bled first? No thanks, they have to lay all of their cards on the table before I would even consider it. You want it, you pay for it.

By the way, the property is still available and you can opt out at anytime after the initial period of some years, but you still have to make payments.

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15city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I do pay for it. But the city's tax base isn't enough to cover it anymore, with the recent budget cuts at the state level.

Instead of trying to find a band-aid, to continue limping along, the WRTA board is trying to expand service to be useful to many more people across the county.

Frankly, with all of the complaining about high gas prices, I don't understand why so many people are against an alternative. (Apparently, they've dropped all the way down to $3.70/gallon, or something? That's still more than it was in March)

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16AtownParent(558 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Expanding service is just verbal diarrhea from those in charge to get this sales tax to pass. Its a con to its core. They need to money to stay afloat, just to maintain, so how can they then expand if they are inches from going under without the sales tax? The talk of expansion so they make the suburbs feel like they may actually get to use the service, when in reality, the money will be used to cover costs and just keep the company in operation.

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17Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I’ve got an innovative idea, how about the city puts on a sales tax to support it? Now just because the city has essentially no retail, that shouldn’t be an issue. How about $2 sales tax on a 40 oncer and lottery tickets? Maybe start charging sales tax for medical services at St. E’s and tuition at YSU? I’m sure the patients and students wouldn’t mind paying an extra few hundred dollars a year to keep the bus service at its’ current level.

I find the justification of “the city's tax base isn't enough to cover it anymore” as to why everybody in the county must pay for it a little bizarre. Maybe it is time for the city to down size so it is the right size before it is completely capsized? Or is it already too late?

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18George412(161 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"How about $2 sales tax on a 40 oncer and lottery tickets?"

Big surprise, Bullchip is spewing his usual anti-Youngstown sentiments and racial hatred on a WRTA thread. When he starts gay bashing, we'll have hit the trifecta.

By the way, it's "ouncer," not "oncer."

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19Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"racial hatred"?????????

What is racist about beer or lottery tickets?

George, you certainly seem to be able to read what you want into any post, regardless of what is posted! How about trying to address the substance of the issue instead of some wrongly perceived slight?

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20city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

AtownParent, the WRTA currently gets about $2 million from property taxes on homes in the city. They would get about $7 million from a county-wide sales tax. Sure, most of that extra $5 million will only bring them back to where they were before they had to start making service cuts. (weekend and night service, etc.) But that's no reason to think that routes can't be reorganized to better serve the entire county. Now, you may be psychic, and know that they're lying. But I don't have that ability.

Bull_Chip, so you think that the WRTA should just find a band-aid for the lack of funding, and just continue limping along? If the WRTA's ridership numbers are small now, it's because the system is so crippled, it's just not usable for a lot of people. Before the state cut their funding, and the WRTA had to start making cuts, ridership had been steadily increasing from month to month. That was back when gas was only in the $2/gallon range!!!

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21Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Still no cost per passenger mile, no rider ship figures, no detail financials - just 'trust them to use your money to benefit me'. Or, more properly, build it and they will come, just like the Chevy Center.

The only reasons to delay the publication of this information is either it is very very bad or they haven’t made up the numbers yet. They didn’t release them last time around & we all know what happened, I guess we now know why they weren’t released.

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22city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"...build it and they will come..." Many were already 'here' before service had to be cut. Ridership had been steadily increasing from month to month.

I've already said I agree that they should provide ridership information. But, you should keep in mind that the numbers would probably look bad for the last year or so, because of the extensive service cuts. (Although, I'm still surprised at the number of people I'm riding the bus with, even with the limited service.)

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23Ianacek(856 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The bus service system in Youngstown needs to be split into funding & service delivery components - Funder & Service Provider . Private companies are much better skilled than bureaucrats in identifying what the customer wants & then delivering it. However, there is a public good element in mass public transport that rider ticket prices will never cover , & this is the case all over the world.

The funding arm would focus on (a) identifying what the voters as a whole want from the service - the "public good" , what they are willing to pay for that "public good" & then placing the contract out for competitive tender by private bus companies

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24George412(161 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Bullchip, You don't honestly expect us to believe that you weren't referring to a specific race of people with your 40 ouncer and lottery ticket crack, do you? I think everyone knows exactly what you meant.

Substance? You are a hateful and presumptuous bigot. Nothing you say has value. I see no reason to pretend that it does.

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25MCIGUY37(9 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

AMEN! Oldmangrump..........

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26city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Just to be clear here. This is not about a levy, but about a sales tax. If you're so poor, you won't be buying much anyway. $0.25 out of every $100 spent just doesn't seem like a lot of money to me.

Also, I'm not aware of ANY public transportation system, that is economically viable on it's own. (if you know of one, please provide a link to it)

This isn't about suburbs giving welfare to the city. It's about providing themselves a public service.

If this sales tax fails, I'd like to see the WRTA run only within the city limits--providing the service only to those who pay for it. But that wouldn't be practical. The city residents who work in the suburbs, and the suburban residents who work in the city might lose their jobs because they can't find an alternate way to work.

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27MCIGUY37(9 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

We ARE being clear. The majority has voted and will vote again that WE don't want those buses running throughout the county!

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28city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Well, that's fine. If you don't want mass-transit, then you don't. But, I'm going to do my best to make sure people know about what they're voting for or against.

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29George412(161 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

City resident, well said.

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30MOM509(8 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I voted for the levy. I live in Cornersburg. I am disabled & the bus is the only means of transportation I have. Put yourself in my shoes & see how you would feel if your only means of transportaton was in jeopardy.
I also can not understand why our elected officials do not work to get federal money to help in this crisis. It is important to builing up Youngstown to get a good form of public transportation. I have written letters & sent countless emails . They seem to fall on deaf ears.
We need to get past the 'money issue' & look into the human aspect of this. The many people who depend on the buses. Thanks for letting me express my opinion.

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31AtownParent(558 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

If they need money, then increase the cost to ride the bus. Let those who use it pay for it.

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32cooks50(20 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Atown Parent,

I dont use the austintown school system but im paying for it

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33AtownParent(558 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

That is the most ridiculous comparison I have ever heard. You know when you pick a house that part of your property tax is going to the school system whether you use it or not. You also have the choice to vote no on levies if you so decide. Just like we can all vote no on the bus system that has never been a county wide burden to support. I didn't move into Austintown knowing I would pay for the Youngstown city bus service - and I know, it does pick up people in Austintown and Boardman, but in case you all have forgotten, there are a few more townships/cities that make up the Mahoning county then just A-town and B-man. The comparison under your example would be like having people in North Jackson and Canfield pay a tax to support the Austintown schools.

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34cooks50(20 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Thats the most ridiclous commet on your part are you really that dumb. Its not just a city service its county wide, but its currently being paid for just by city residents. But I guest you didnt know that.

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35MCIGUY37(9 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

COUNTY WIDE????????????? Austintown and Boardman ARE NOT county wide!!! If WRTA ran the entire county then the ENTIRE county should pay for the service. IT DOESN'T RUN THE ENTIRE COUNTY! Does WRTA still go to Warren and the Eastwood mall? If so, TRUMBULL county should pay too!! People, there are state and federal funds available for transit agencies and I'm sure we're not utilizing those wisely or aren't elligible for significant funds. As others have posted earlier, where's the books? I'm sure we'll find lot's of mistakes and other no no's that makes the public lose faith in the "powers that be" of WRTA. Again, TAKE A HARD LOOK AT THE NEW CASTLE TRANSIT AGENCY. They run all over Lawrence County and go to Pittsburgh also. They are thriving!!!

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36city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

MCIGUY, how much state funding is the WRTA eligible for? How much state funding is the New Castle Transit Agency eligible for? Do Ohio and Pa provide the same level of funds? Did they prior to the recent cuts?

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37ImRight(5 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

dear City_resident:

The funds between PA and Ohio are split this includes Niles. WRTA recieved all of the funding prior to Niles arriving then there was a restructure of the Region and this now includes PA.

What WRTA needs to look at are the facts and That is why they are in this problem now when they should have look at other various Transit Authority's and see how they run with the same size fleet or less and continue to this day to have a profit and not a loss.

Back in May when it was on the ballot the County Commissioners seemed to not to take part in the problem and even one of them was highly against it. Now they want it back on for November. I had to get a car and share it with a co-worker just so we don't lose our jobs. And to this day it is working very well. So why is the Commissioners all of sudden want to take part in helping WRTA now?!

WRTA can not blame the residents of Youngstown and the surrounding areas for the problem that they have created. They have only themselves to blame. They probably didn't watch what they were doing and just spent the money. And now they want to show what they make. Please!!

If the surrounding areas don't want to support WRTA that is their way of voting.

What we need to do is restructure WRTA as we have done with Downtown Youngstown and the YSU area.

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38ImRight(5 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Dear Cooks50:

Not just the city residents of Youngstown are paying for this service it's everyone. Have you looked lately at all of the emails with the questions and responses.

It is everyone in Mahoning County!!!!

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39city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

ImRight,

The non-Youngstown residents of Mahoning county aren't paying anymore for the WRTA than, say, the residents of Cuyahoga county, or Stark County, or Franklin county, right? They are also paying for SARTA, PARTA Cleveland RTA, etc.

Maybe the WRTA does need restructuring. Transitioning from a city entity to a county entity would certainly be a good time to have such a restructuring, right?

Lastly, you were able to partner with someone to buy a car. But, what about people like MOM509 and I, who don't have the option of driving at all? What are we supposed to do? (or the elderly who can't drive anymore, or those who are too poor to even pay for "half" of a car)

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40MOM509(8 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The buses no longer go to Warren. They only go on Belmont & where the hospitals are in Trumbull county. The bus rates have been raised, they have cut out lines & cut out runs within lines. There have been plenty or cuts & raises in prices.

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41MCIGUY37(9 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Well then WRTA needs to restructure itself and provide service to ALL areas of MAHONING and TRUMBULL counties. Ferraro needs to retire and WRTA needs somebody new to head up the soon to be "defunct" WRTA and head it in a new direction. As it is now, it just doesn't work and doesn't make sense to ask the taxpayers for more money when the whole operation isn't viable AS IS. I feel for those who have no alternatives, however, the fact remains that WRTA needs REVAMPED. I am a strong supporter of our communities public schools and the funding for ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN OHIO just plain "sucks". Now, Boardman is in a financial tail spin and the school's are losing their Dare Officer and probably the program too due to "lack of funds" and poor financial planning for the township. So, WRTA is the least of our worries for now.

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42city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"Well then WRTA needs to restructure itself and provide service to ALL areas of MAHONING and TRUMBULL counties."

They are trying to provide service to all of Mahoning county with this sales tax. Maybe something can be worked out with Trumbull county in the future?

"As it is now, it just doesn't work and doesn't make sense to ask the taxpayers for more money when the whole operation isn't viable AS IS."

Using this logic, if your car didn't work, you wouldn't pay a mechanic to have it fixed because the car didn't work?

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43AtownParent(558 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

cooks50 - again you have nothing better to add then calling someone dumb.

County wide would mean all of Mahoning County, when that is not the case nor has it even been the case. Does the bus head on out to Ellsworth Twp or Berlin Center - how about Green or down in Washingtonville or heck even Canfield and Poland? No, Austintown and Boardman are the only two "county-wide" places it goes. Why should the whole entire Mahoning County cover the short falls of a failing business, which is exactly what this is - a failing business. I agree with those who have said it needs a complete overhaul. Throwing money at the WRTA is not going to solve its problems.

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44city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

This Vindy article:
http://www.vindy.com/news/2008/jul/18...
has a lot more useful information about what the WRTA plans to do if the sales tax passes, and how it will serve the whole county.

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45Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

City – based on that article, the cost per passenger in taxes is something well north of $5.00. I am still guessing that the cost per passenger mile is close to that $5.00.

Numbers – “about” 4,000 riders daily times 5 days per week times 52 weeks per year is about 1 million rides (one way) per year. Tax income and grants is over $5 million per year. 5/1= $5 per one way ride in tax subsidy.

I think the real audited numbers, since we are talking mainly about operating tax subsidies and not capital subsidies, would be closer to the $5 per passenger mile, not just per passenger. As was stated earlier, this transit system is more expensive than providing taxi service at the same level. It is simply an employment service for political pork recipients.

Yep, the county residents definitely need to contribute to this odiferous endeavor to diminish the atrocious traffic jams in downtown Youngstown. That way we can raise the tax subsidy to the system to about $8 per passenger ($10 million / 6,000 daily passengers).

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46kellym(1 comment)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

The WRTA isn't worth it--it's a failing business, and it just needs money to dig itself out of financial turmoil. If the WRTA was such a thriving outlet of public transporation, it wouldn't be hanging on by a thread like it is now.

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47city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

"Tax income and grants is over $5 million per year."

How do you arrive at "over $5 million?" From this article, I see $2.6 million from city property taxes. From the linked article, I see $2 million (at most) from federal funding, and $150,000 from the state. So, the total ends up being between $4.45 million and $4.75 million annually. It's also unclear to me whether these are just operating funds, or if capital improvements come from these same sources of income.

WRTA is not a business, it's a public service like schools and police protection. Why is it that Cleveland's RTA has to make service cuts, even though ridership has skyrocketed recently with the high gas prices? Why did Chicago have to cut routes recently even though it has one of the best mass-transit systems in the US? Because they are not businesses, and they also had to deal with federal and/or state funding cuts.

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48Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

City- this does not include grants or capital expenditures. This is only a “poor me” because I am not getting the money I was at one time. Reason is it is now a formula based system calculated on service population and poverty level. Youngstown is too small and without a large enough WORKING poverty population. The city has too much tax revenue per unit population. Read that as Jay and company have a bloated city employee roster that can not be justified when taken out on a national level. Cut the number of excess city employees, roll the excess profits from the water department into the general city coffers, cut the school staffing to the state required levels and suddenly you will have millions in existing revenues to spend on transportation and re-pay state school loans.

Oh, and maintenance of the Chevy Center debt (if you do more than just service the interest you will be looking at over $1 million per year). Yep, the city only went into the hole to the tune of about $14 million on top of the federal $25 million.

DEPENDS YOUGSTOWN – NOTE: this is not a misspelling!

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49city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Whoa, you kinda went off-topic there! How the city spends its money, how the school spends its money, and how the WRTA apends its money aren't very closely related.

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50city_resident(501 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

If the sales tax fails, the WRTA will probably have to go to city council for help from the city. If that becomes the case, then Bull_Chip's post becomes less off-topic.

I've already addressed this a few days ago. "Instead of trying to find a band-aid, to continue limping along, the WRTA board is trying to expand service to be useful to many more people across the county."

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51ImRight(5 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Everyone needs to be at the meetings of the commissioners and voice their opinions about WRTA. Putting messages on this message board does nothing but go back and forth and noone from WRTA sees what is being written.

People need to talk to Mr Ferraro and staff about this.

And as far as restructing, don't promote within, go out from another Transit Authority.

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