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Passage of WRTA levy is an economic, social and moral imperative



Published: Tue, October 7, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

If Saturday’s compelling front-page story about the people who depend on public transportation for their daily living didn’t tug at your heartstrings, we wonder what will.

But by the grace of God go so many of us.

There are a growing number of Mahoning Valley residents who through no fault of their own need the Western Reserve Transit Authority buses to get to work, to the stores and even for such a basic entertainment option as church bingo. Unfortunately, these residents are at the mercy of taxpayers, many of whom have little understanding of the importance of public transportation.

Unlike other parts of the country, the Mahoning Valley remains automobile-centric. That is because there aren’t major employment centers that draw thousands of suburbanites, resulting in traffic jams that last hours on end. Even at rush hour, the travel time from home to work in this area is relatively short.

But, it is a mistake to view the WRTA’s proposed 0.25 percent county-wide sales tax through the prism of an individual’s driving habits.

“I want to be independent, be a productive member of society, and public transportation is an important part of me being able to do that,” 58-year-old Jim Donnan, who is blind, told Vindicator reporter Katie Seminara. “I don’t want to live off the community.”

Independence

Talk to anyone who rides the bus and the one word you’ll hear over and over is independence. Even those with relatives who own cars are reluctant to impose.

Don’t mistake their need to be self-sufficient with pride or arrogance. WRTA riders, many of whom are handicapped, know the value of doing things for themselves.

If Donnan’s testimonial doesn’t impress you, consider what 84-year-old Margaret Agoney told reporter Seminara: “I don’t drive, don’t have a car and I depend on the bus.”

Agoney already has felt the effects of service cutbacks due to the WRTA’s financial difficulties. She had to hand in her bingo cards because night and weekend service was canceled.

Remember, she’s one of the many senior citizens in our area who depend on public transportation not only to fulfill basic needs, but to add some quality to their lives.

Our support for public transportation has been unyielding. Indeed, there are times when we’ve sounded downright preachy about the need for taxpayer support for this important service.

We have used the economic development argument — there are companies in the suburbs that depend on Youngstown residents to fill low-wage jobs — and have discussed the moral imperative of the issue.

We have also couched the debate over the WRTA county-wide tax in terms of the sky high cost of gasoline and the need by many families to find a cheaper alternative,

And, we have tried to tug at residents’ heartstrings. It is true that a majority of the WRTA’s riders live in the city of Youngstown, and that only Youngstown residents now pay the two property taxes that generate $2.6 million a year for the authority.

But it is just as true that there has been a reduction in federal and state financial support, which makes the $2.6 million inadequate to fulfill the WRTA’s needs — even with reduced service.

The reality is that the city does not have a large enough tax base to support public transportation.

There are a couple of other facts that deserve consideration.

First, money from the federal government cannot be used for operations, only for rolling stock and buildings.

Second, the big buses that have been the subject of so much public derision are operationally more cost-effective than the vans that the WRTA also runs.

Finally, the WRTA is a much cheaper option than the special bus services that have been cropping up all over the county. Case in point: When the authority discontinued some service, the Mahoning County Department of Job and Family Services was forced to pick up the slack. It costs $800 a month per client for taxi or van-type transportation, compared with the cost of a monthly ticket on WRTA of $42.

That is why the county commissioners are supporting the county-wide sales tax which will appear on the November general election ballot.

Given that voters already said no to the 0.25 percent tax in the March primary — the vote was 50,570 against, 38,519 for — the prospects of passage next month aren’t good.

Not giving up

But we aren’t giving up on urging residents to think in terms of the common good, and neither should religious organizations, charitable institutions, social service agencies and businesses.

The WRTA issue is about the future.

As a graphic that accompanied Saturday’s Vindicator story detailed, the benefits to be derived from county-wide bus service are many.

To highlight one: There would be door-to-door service with small buses throughout the county.

And, the governing board, now made up of five members appointed by the city, would be expanded to seven. The commissioners would select four and the city three.


Comments

1Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

What is sad is that taxpayer money has been put at risk protecting bad investments made by A.I.G. and other institutions but not to help those in need of public transportation. Why does the American taxpayer keep getting left holding the wastebasket of the American economy for its corporate masters instead of helping those who actually do the work?

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2TheLostPatrol(755 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Keep the "crime element" in the city limits. What happened last week in Boardman at the city line near Prestwick Avenue is the "criminal element crawl" that Boardman and other adjacent communities do not want. That incident could have been the results of two more added Homicides (only to be credited to Boardman and not Youngstown by two Youngstown low-life's). By voting for this WRTA Bus Levy all outlying communities are doing is leap-frogging criminal elements into their suburbs via four-wheels. Ask the merchants at Southern Park Mall and Route 224 if it makes a difference in their profits by having bus service to their places of business. Vote NO for the WRTA Levy and lower shoplifting, purse snatching, and robbery assaults in your community.

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3city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

So, TLP, can you provide statistics that prove the crime rate in the suburbs has dropped significantly with the drop in bus service?

If the WRTA is eliminated, the "crime element" will just move out to the burbs to be closer to the businesses they need.

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4dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I will be voting no in nov for the levy! Along with other levies. These people need to the stick a budget they get. Quit stand with your hand out for everyone to pay more money to you. Everything is on the rise not just gas either, which will be there arguement saying then you won't have to pay for the high gas prices in your cars. But I think these people need to find other ways to fund there levy/levies. We the tax payers are sick of paying more taxes. Especially for things we never use. Raise the very cheap prices on riding the bus, and maybe you'll make some money, and not have to bother the us!

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5dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

city resident: They are not eliminating the WRTA if the levy is not passed. They want to restore nights and weekend routes. So why not just leave it as is with the hours, day, and routes they have already!

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6metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

not passing this will not do anything to the ecnonmy. what ever thinks that is wrong and is trying to scare people..

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7AtownParent(561 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I am voting no. I am not a charity here people. It is not being used by the people in the suburbs, it is used by city residents and they should pay for it. Having a bus service will not bring companies to Youngstown. It hasn't yet and it won't ever no matter what is being said.

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8Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

AtownParent, I just agreed with you elsewhere, but it doesn't mean we agree on everything, which is fine. The tax hike would cost us, you and I, very little more money in the end each year. Really. And it is simply not only used by city residents, so at the very least when you post things of this nature, you should use a qualifying word like "mostly used by" instead of the definitive "used by" which indicates that it is "only" city residents that use the bus system, and this is simply not true. And also, your facts about "it hasn't yet" are wrong. If you trace the bus system far enough back, when the area was stronger economically, people from all around the city used the bus system, even as far out as Warren. This, too, is an untruth you are spreading, and it would be best if you also stopped saying things like "it won't ever" because you are not all-knowing, are unable to see into the future, and probably you will be proved wrong by that statement, too, at some point down the road.

You can be against the tax, certainly. But when you argue about it, use facts, not opinions, and don't lie (even if you don't realize you're lying. Now you understand your "facts" aren't facts, and should correct the way you speak in the future).

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9Westsider(222 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

My brother-in-law, due to health issues, no longer drives a car - but he holds a job and needs the WRTA to get to work. The same people who object to the bus levy would also scream and yell if their taxes were to increase so that other state and federal systems would provide transportation. I firmly believe that if there is a system in place to allow people to be independent and hold down a job rather than be forced to retire on disability that it is worth supporting. There are people in the suburbs and outside the city that use public transportation - it is just too easy to ignore the situation if we are not specifically impacted.

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10AtownParent(561 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't use the service, no one in my family does, and those 5 people I see on the bus in the suburbs clearly do not even make it necessary for me to call it "mostly". It is used by city residents almost exclusively. If you don't like that, well then go and pick some of them up and take them around to try and balance out the numbers. It won't ever because Youngstown can not control it's crime problem - that is simply an inevitable truth and if you can't see that then you are ignoring reality. If I care to use opinions to argue about something, that is my first amendment right. It is my opinion that voting yes for a COUNTY WIDE SALES TAX is an asinine waste of money.

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11metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

80% of these peple are from Younsgotwn,so if they really wanted to pass it have Youngstown and the subarbs of austintown and Boardman vote on it instead of the whole county.

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12Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Atownparent, it is your first amendment right to use opinion to argue. It is everyone elses right to call you on that and point out how uninformed your opinions are.

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13city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"80% of these peple are from Younsgotwn,so if they really wanted to pass it have Youngstown and the subarbs of austintown and Boardman vote on it instead of the whole county."

How could anyone in the outer suburbs (and most people in Austintown and Boardman for that matter) even ride the bus if they wanted to? There is currently little or no service there because it is funded by the city and is mostly a city service. That's the whole point of passing the county-wide sales tax, to provide that service to the people in the rest of the county who need it but don't have it.

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14dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

My grandma never drove. We her family made sure she got to where ever she needed to go. Whether it was to and from work, the store, doctor's appointments, or bingo. She would even walk to some places. She said she loved the exercise. Familis need to be there for each other to help. Too many selfish people, all about me, me, me! Many people just don't seem to have strong family support or values. The bus levy is something i do not support. I am sure there are many people that use the bus. But on routes pointed out into Boardman or Austintown, I never really see many people on the bus in Boardman. As for Austintown, I never see a bus in Austintown. The bus route servers the Cornerburg area, which is considered Youngstown. Believe me when i worked over there, never really saw a bus and when I did there were not many people on it. If this levy does pass they did say they would restore night and weekend services, and try to expand into other areas with smaller buses, and some more route(stated in a rally on the news by the people asking for the levy). As you can see they know for sure they would give Youngstown back more routes, and as for the rest of the Mahoning County, the said try. Which to me means nothing but something they are not going to do. I was in Cleveland over the weekend and saw the actually meaning for public transportation. The buses and Rapid are used to bring people to and from downtown Cleveland. Not the way it is in Youngstown which is being everyone from the downtown youngstown area to outer laying areas. Maybe people in the burgs don't want it that way so they DO have the right to vote NO, whether you like their reasons or opinions why they are against it.

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15AtownParent(561 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Cbarzak - You can call me out all you want, truth is you used no facts in defending your case either. If you are going to call someone out, you look a little more credible if you didn't do the exact same thing.

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16MillCreeked(24 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

How heartless can you be to suggest that someone disabled should rely exclusively on family in order to maintain mobility and independence? We just a society by how we treat its weakest, poorest people - children, the elderly, the disabled. Yes you absolutely should help poor people maintain the dignity and independence that allows them to work, shop, go to church, and see their friends, by providing public transportation. And as for the poor - wake up! If the banks don't make loans for cars, more and more people will have no other option.

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17Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Atownparent, there has been a lot of information provided both by the Vindicator and other posters about why the WRTA is vital to the success of the entire region, not just to Youngstown, and I felt repeating that information would be redundant. If you would like me to reiterate all that has been stated about why a bus system, not just in Youngstown, but an infrastructure for one to be in place throughout the entire county, is important to job creation (as it is in any settled community--and by community, I mean a region, not just a township or not even just one small city) then I will certainly comb through the articles that have already been printed. However, you have commented on all of those articles and declared it useless to you and yours despite the evidence that revitalizing the service to be used by people of all the surrounding communities and in order to attract more jobs to the area (because a bus service is one of the things many employers look at when it comes to whether or not they will locate in your community), so would I not be talking to the proverbial wall by repeating that information here yet again?

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18ytown9999(55 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

What about the elderly and disabled in Ellsworth or Green Township or other outlying areas who can't drive and that will never see a bus? Where is your answer and your bleeding heart for them?

Or is it just that they are good enough to take tax money from, but not good enough for the bus since they don't live in the city?

And anyone here who talks about arguing with hardcore facts in the comments section of a propagandistic article entitled "Passage of WRTA levy is an economic, social and moral imperative" is a hypocrite.

Vote NO. This "where is your heart?" propaganda is just that. They really mean to say "where is your heart for the city residents only" since many disabled, elderly or non-car having people of the county who are expected to pay for this will never benefit from it.

Symapthy is only used to win votes when the facts cannot stand for themselves.

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19Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

NoBS, I never said that the WRTA will solve the region's economic woes. I said it factors in when employers look at regions as potential places to locate.

Please read more carefully next time.

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20AtownParent(561 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

So I should believe everything I read in the paper right? That the information could not possibly be half of the real story? I don't use it, no one I know uses it, and everyone I know is voting No. There is your proverbial wall.

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21George412(161 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

So by your logic, the people you know are more reliable sources of information on the WRTA than our local news organizations?

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22Westsider(222 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

To NoBS - You absolutely do not owe my brother-in-law nor anyone else in society anything - so please do vote NO. For the record, our family does make sure he is transported on the days there is no bus service as well as to work on those days (mainly Monday holidays) as well. However, we are all working and cannot regularly transport him during the hours we work. I guess I am pleased to know that you will happily contribute your tax dollars should he need to retire on disability due to lack of transportation. I think it is a shame that people who want to be independent then are unable to be.

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23AtownParent(561 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Wow George, you seriously missed the point on that one. What I am saying is that the 80,000 or so residents can all vote yes, but all those in the suburbs who want nothing to do with this sales tax are voting No. Pound your head against that wall.

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24dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

All everyone wants is money. This is getting to be so old. I mean people work to afford a house, food for the their families, and to have children and raise them. If we pass ever levy out there, the workers will have no money to LIVE THEIR LIVES or provide for their KIDS. I love being a stay at home, and have since feb. But if every levy out there is passed, I will have to go back to work, and my kids will be the ones who suffer. I am willing to vote NO and put my family first. I have that right and the responsibility as a parent to put my kids first! That is exactly what I am choosing to do. The buses can keep going as is and just become and stay a city transportation, and that will be fine with me. My vote is NO!!!

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25Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I find it fascinating that there still has been NO detailed accounting of revenue and expenses for the WRTA. As I stated previously and backed up with their numbers, from just an operational perspective (not including any capital expenses or special grants), the current subsidy level is over $5 per passenger per ride. All in it is likely over $5 per passenger mile.

It appears the city is trying to foist this white elephant on county taxpayers so that mayor Jay and his administration can pay off political obligations with patronage jobs created by the additional revenues. They are already poised for a major capital project on the old Salvation Army grounds.

WRTA refuses to account for the massive Federal, State and local finding it receives now. NEVER trust a bureaucrat with your money when they have never been open with how those monies are spent before.

If the city needs more money to run the WRTA, then sell the Chevy Center.

VOTE NO ON THE WRTA LEVY

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26ytown9999(55 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Argue all the points you want for this levy until you are blue in the face. The levy will not pass now just like it did not pass before. Period.

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27Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

NoBS, I think you are imagining a condescending attitude since you can't hear my voice. You can feel free to do that if you want. It doesn't bother me any. Imagine me being condescending. I'll imagine you being as unnecessarily aggressive as you are to people who have different ideas from yours.

Yes, I said what you cut and pasted. I didn't say it was the one and only factor that will help this region, but that it is a factor to economic development, period. It's part of the region's infrastructure, and once you strip it out, it will take a lot more to reconstruct something like it in the future, if we want an area that is more knit together.

If, however, you want to perceive it as something that is only useful to city residents, then you are right, the county should not be responsible for it.

I myself see it as one of the last remaining vestiges of infrastructure that will allow this region to continue economic development in the future, since, as mentioned in many articles here (as well as in economic reports for any city and any region you look at in the nation) public transportation systems are necessary to connect townships and suburbs and cities together in order to build an area up, rather than tear it down. This is a different way of viewing this piece of our region, though.

Vote how you want to. I will vote how I want to as well. That's America.

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28metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

promises pormises when they do keep them, never. You ahve to be crazy to think they iwll add bus routes out ithe county where no one really uses tem. why waste the gas to pic out a couple of people at best?

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29cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

cbarzak: Bless you for trying but this region is hopeless. Honestly, I've lived in six metro areas in the Northeast and the South and this is the first place I've ever been that thinks mass transit is evil. The bottom line is the racism and classicism in this area scares folks into thinking those evil Youngstown folks (we all know what this means) will take the buses to the suburbs and commit crimes--because we all know a city bus makes a great getaway vehicle. Ugh--I love my job here but I am definitely looking to get away from this valley and the ignorance and intolerance that settles here like the gray clouds.

While we're at it lets vote off that small levy we all pay for the mental health/disability services too...

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30metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Well even the top city leaders in our area are corrupt and hoepless. f they are wh yshould the common folk feel any different. that balck cloud folows us everywhere,think about Chacne the Sheriff and Traficant.

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31city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"Westsider, how is one considered to be independent if they rely on others, or on a government handout?"

Like the government handouts that pay for schools, roads, police/fire, etc.? I wonder if anyone in the U.S. is "independent" then.

"As I stated previously and backed up with their numbers, from just an operational perspective (not including any capital expenses or special grants), the current subsidy level is over $5 per passenger per ride. All in it is likely over $5 per passenger mile."

Hmmm, I don't agree. Assuming the WRTA can use the funds it receives from the state ($150,000) for operating expenses, they carry about 4000 passengers per day on about $2.75 million in tax dollars per year. (This article points out that federal funds--approximately $2 million--can't be used for operational expenses.) So, doesn't that mean a trip costs $2.75 (the "subsidy," if you prefer) in addition to the fare? Here's the math: (4000 rides per day * 5 days a week * 52 weeks a year) / ($2,600,000 in city property taxes + $150,000 in state funding)

"They are already poised for a major capital project on the old Salvation Army grounds."

Yep. Last I heard, the WRTA was planning a big parking lot so they could re-route circulation. They want to work with the city to add a new light on Mahoning at Hogue street so that the buses can enter and exit the station more easily.

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32buster62(24 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I set here and read the comments about WRTA. OK. Don't vote for the levy. While your at it, let's get rid of Greyhound, Amtrak, bicycles, and all other forms of transportation except cars. OH yes, this include getting rid of Motorcycles, ATV's, boats, etc.

Let's hope you will never get old and need public transportation or want to take a trip somewhere.

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33dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

There is no problem with any form of transportation. You are going over board there buster62. People buy their own bike, atv, motorcycles, trucks, and cars. As for greyhound people foot the bill themselves in the ticket they buy. So those are all bad exaples. The city buses are just that, city buses. I know there are people who depend on the buses, but they need to find other ways to fund the busing rather then asking for a levy from county residents. They need to look at other areas and make a levy their last resort, not their first. Take a look at bus fair, they ae so low it is crazy. So start in other areas.

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34city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"...but they need to find other ways to fund the busing rather then asking for a levy from county residents. They need to look at other areas and make a levy their last resort, not their first. Take a look at bus fair, they ae so low it is crazy. So start in other areas."

Raising bus fare is just a band-aid solution. If they raised the fare 50 cents, to be the same as Cleveland's RTA, the WRTA would make less than $500,000 more a year. What other ways would you suggest raising additional funds? Keeping in mind that they are not allowed to seek more property taxes.

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35Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

“they carry about 4000 passengers per day”

Where can I find this number published by the WRTA????

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36city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"Where can I find this number published by the WRTA????"

I don't know. I quoted this number from a past Vindy article.

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37dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Even if 4000 ride a day, that is a very small percentage of the Youngstown population. If you add in all of Mahoning county, that number now looks so microscopic. I agree completely with oldmangrump, the bus system needs to be self-supporting!

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38city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"Even if 4000 ride a day, that is a very small percentage of the Youngstown population."

I think the biggest reason for this is because the system has been cut so much. It's not very useful to a lot of people who might use it otherwise.

"If you add in all of Mahoning county, that number now looks so microscopic."

What's your point? If the sales tax passes, how do you know ridership won't jump to 15,000 riders per day?

"...the bus system needs to be self-supporting!"

Could someone please provide an example of a self-supporting mass-transit system?

BTW, why am I able to come up with answers to many of the questions brought up here, but no one can answer my questions?

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39metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

4,000 15,000 still it is a small number. Youngstown alone has close to 80,000 people. You need at least half that for it to make any sens to say it gets a lot of use. heck that is this size of a mall town and with close to 100,000 in our county it shows not many are suing it and therefore why pass a tax for 15,00 to use it even if they do?

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40Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

In 2006, their over all non-rider ship revenue was about was $7 million. The rider ship had previously peaked at about 1.4 million and had dropped to about 1 million That works out to an all in subsidy of $7 per rider.

I AM talking all in costs, just like a business does. If I run a retail establishment and only look at what the inventory costs me, I will go broke. I have to figure in my capital expenses also. It doesn’t matter that federal or state funds can only go to capital expenses, they are still EXPENSES to run the service.

My statement still accurately stands, the subsidy is at something north of $5 per passenger and likely closer to $5 per passenger mile.

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41dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Ok here goes. Most mass transit get money through property taxes, which so does the Youngstown city buses, and state funding. They do not have a sales tax to also help. They usually have an operating revenue which includes fares, tolls, and advertising and real estate fees. These places also provide a service to the whole county. See I think the Youngstown WRTA need to just run off property taxes. Budget themselves to what they take in and make the number of bus routes according to the budget. I just don't see the need for everyone to pay more taxes for a bus they never use. I am not voting for this levy, and to be honest any levy for that matter. Taxing the people is getting old. These people need to find other ways of funding!

As for if i don't think the numbers won't jump to 15,000 per day? That is still such a small number. And with them only adding on nights and weekends, who do you think will be riding the buses? Not people from Austintown, Boardman, Poland, Canfield, Lake Milton, or anywhere farther away. Do you know why? Cause they will not offer bus routes for all the outter laying areas.

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42city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't have time to make a full response. But I'd like to say that I don't expect to change the minds of the people I'm conversing with. I'm just trying to tell the other side of the story for those people who might be reading this and haven't already decided.

"In 2006, their over all non-rider ship revenue was about was $7 million. The rider ship had previously peaked at about 1.4 million and had dropped to about 1 million That works out to an all in subsidy of $7 per rider."

7 million / 1.4 million = 5 not 7. Ridership fell to about 1 million after they lost funding and had to make service cuts. Ridership had been steadily INCREASING before they had to cut service. (and that was before the cost of gas hit $3/gal.)

"I AM talking all in costs, just like a business does. If I run a retail establishment and only look at what the inventory costs me, I will go broke. I have to figure in my capital expenses also. It doesn’t matter that federal or state funds can only go to capital expenses, they are still EXPENSES to run the service."

Previously, you said: "As I stated previously and backed up with their numbers, from just an **operational perspective** (not including any capital expenses or special grants)..."

Thier current funding, as stated in the Vindy is: about $2.6 million from property taxes, about $150,000 from the state, and about $2 million from the federal govt. So, the cost per trip to pay for everything: buses, fuel, wages, buildings, maintenance, etc. is $4.75 per passenger.

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43dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

They need to raise the cost of fares. They are so low. Here they are: Regular Adult $1.25
Senior/Disabled* $ .60
Student (with proper I.D.) $ .75
Special Services Transportation $2.50
Transfers** $ .25
Transfers(Senior/Disabled) $ .10
Children under 6 (with fare paying adult)
They need to make these higher. This would be a start.

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44buster62(24 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Maybe WRTA needs to do what Pittsburgh did. The went to the County commissioners and city council and had a tax put on drinks in bars. The bus company was going under, so all the money on drinks went to them. It took a year or more, but the bus company is in the black. Last I heard, they were going to repeal the tax because the company is on its feet. Their bus company goes out of the county all the way th New Castle.

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45metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

rasing the price of a fare woud do the opposite! Even less people would ride if they had to pay more. we already are at the max with taxes and utlities and not many could aford anything esle going up. if anything they need to go lower to get more riders.

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46Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

City, just link to their financials online not just a story, that will end all of the estimates. The only problem is, their complete financial report is nowhere to be found. Even with the limited and incomplete information available, you even come up with a $4.75 per passenger subsidy. I don’t believe this includes ALL of their revenue streams, like what is transferred from other government agencies for “services” provided.?

This is just a government funded entity that refuses to provide detailed financials to the taxpayers so they can make an informed decision. I wonder why?

If this had been a serious operation, they would have audited financials and audited rider ship data as a sales tool for the levy, not just a bleeding heart television special.

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47metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I sure don't expcet 100,000 to read the buses if this levy passes.

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48city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I briefly looked at all the member sites (who had working links) at this site:
http://www.ohiopublictransit.org/04li...

I would encourage others to see what other communities around Ohio are doing with their mass transit systems.

Here are a couple of my observations:

Very few had fares more than the WRTA's fares. None, with fixed routes, had fares more than $2.00.

In the little bit of financial information I could find, (I wasn't looking closely for the financials, so I could have missed some) the systems often weren't funded with property taxes. In the Cincinnati area, the system is locally funded by an income tax. Others, like the Cleveland area, Akron area, Canton area, etc. are paid for with a sales tax--just like what the WRTA wants to do.

Bull_Chip, maybe you could look through these sites and tell me how much these services are subsidized? I think a good apples to apples comparison would be to analize the Stark Area RTA. http://www.sartaonline.com/ Here's their 2007 financial report: http://www.sartaonline.com/pdf/financ...

I really do wish the WRTA had this kind of tranparency.

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49metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Well we stil lshould not al lpay for sometihnt taht msot will not use. the key word is ALL.

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50city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Just vote YES on November 4th. In a future with high gas prices, any community that hopes to progress will have a mass-transportation system.

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51dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Vote NO on Nov 4th. Scare tactics are not going to work. Sorry I do not look at the WRTA as mass-transportation when it serves only the Youngstown area. The L in Chicago, the subway in NYC, the rapid in Cleveland, and there are many many more are mass transit systems. Mass transit are in big cities, not a city that is considered decaying. Please, do not try to say busing will bring back the city cause that is a far cry from the truth.

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52cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

You already pay for MRDD (Mahoning County Mental Retardation--what an awful name by the way) and the county library system and clearly not everyone uses these services, and the taxes you pay for these agencies is more than the WRTA. The whole point is to expand the service so it would be a viable mass transit network. Think about the possibility of say YSU students from Boardman, Atown, etc., being able to ride the bus to campus as parking facilities decrease there and gas prices rise--ah never mind this is pointless...

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53dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I know when I went to YSU here was no way I was riding a bus! I wanted MY car there to come and go as I pleased. As for the libraries they are wealth of knowledge! They are a good thing to have that enhances education and the mind. MRDD is one bus to help the mentally and physically handicapped. Most of them are born with the condition without a choice. The WRTA is just another crutch for the city of Youngstown. As for the burbs, did you ever think they vote it down cause they do NOT want the youngstown residents in the neighborhoods? That is just food for thought!

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54city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"As for the libraries they are wealth of knowledge!"

Yeah, but so is the internet. Why should I pay for something--the library--that isn't used by everyone? If people want to read, they should buy their own books.

LOL Luckily I understand the value of public services paid for with taxes, and will support libraries even though I don't use them.

"As for the burbs, did you ever think they vote it down cause they do NOT want the youngstown residents in the neighborhoods?"

And we've come full circle to this nonsense again.

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55cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Yes that's exactly what I think, and that makes it all the more pathetic--as if criminals are going to ride the bus to commit crimes. And as for YSU students, they are a little bit more environmentally aware than you might think and a lot less narrow minded. As BOTH presidential candidates will tell you, the old, stale thinking of "I want MY car there to come and go as I please" cannot continue through the 21st century. Many of my coworkers have said that if there was regular service from Boardman and Poland, they would use it(I work downtown).And what's with the MRDD logic, "Most of them are born with the condition without a choice." Is it that only poor people ride buses and it's their choice to be poor? Or is it that black people (because that's really what this is about) have that choice as well?

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56Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

4,000 passengers per day?

Let’s just say there are an average of 15 people on each bus per route. That works out to 266 one way routes each day. Where do those 266 routes go to?

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57JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

MRDD is state-funded, nothing to do with the county.

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58AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

He is an idea. Increase the price to ride the bus so that it covers the cost. If the riders cannot or will not pay the increased cost, what makes them think that as a tax-
payer I want to?

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59city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"Let’s just say there are an average of 15 people on each bus per route. That works out to 266 one way routes each day. Where do those 266 routes go to?"

There are 14 routes. (I'm counting YSU twice because there is the "inner" and "outer" loop.) They run a total of 212 circuits each day. Then, there are the SST people. Check it out for yourself. http://www.wrtaonline.com/schedules.htm

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60dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

First off the poor can do something about it like go out and get a job! or two or three. Poor people sit around with the poor mes and hands out. Most of the people who do ride the bus probbaly don't even pay property taxes to fund the busing. Listen you can not compare the libraries and city busing. They are comparing apples and oranges. As for the MY car on campus. I had a group of friends that carpooled to and from school.

PS: The color of a person's skin has nothing at all to do with my thought process. I see everyone as part of the human race.
Everyone has the right to their own opinion and to vote the way the want to. Like I said I will not be voting for the Levy, but that goes for any levy including the Austintown school levy. So see i'm being fair, and saying the school districts need to find other ways besides taxing the people to get their funding too!

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61metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

it' called picking your poocket and we are feed up with it.

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62cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Jeff: I did check it out: "According to the data compiled by the Ohio Association of County Boards of MRDD, the MRDDs received just under $1.4 billion to provide all these services to their clients in 2005. Of this amount, 68 percent was local funding derived mostly from property tax levies." Source: Ohio Dept. of Ed Finance.

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63dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

MRDD and city busing are two totally different things. You just don't get it! No matter what people say who are for the lavy, there is no way you are going to chage the mind of those people who are sick of paying more taxes! Find another way to fund your service!

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64ysugrad1999(46 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I'll be the first to agree that all metro cities need a public transportation system...it's essential.

Youngstown is a unique case, as a very large majority of its riders are Youngstown residents. I live in Boardman, and I never see anybody from Boardman getting on...only Youngtown riders getting off...everyone knows this. Worse yet, a large majority of those Youngstown riders are people living off entitlement programs. So they are hardly bringing much revenue to Boardman businesses. Not to mention some of them have sticky fingers when visiting our Boardman shops!

I would be more inclined to vote for this levy if more non-Youngstown residents were using it, or if the WRTA board members planned some sort of expansion to attract Boardman/Austintown riders. Unfortunately, no expansion is in the plan...only bringing back night and weekend routes that were previously discontinued.

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65lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The WRTA is OUR service...our community service.

And YSU students who live in the suburbs may also rely more on the WRTA system after the scheduled demolition of one of the University's parking decks. One proposal to deal with decreased availablity of campus parking is to use the WRTA to shuttle students from lots that are farther away from campus.

Granted, suburbanites would benefit more from WRTA expansion, but that expansion cannot happen until the night and weekend routes are restored, and that can't happen without funding. It's a process.

Let's support our community and vote YES.

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66JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

You're correct but allocations are matched by the state then allocated; the state manages the program. Essentially every state initiative is funded at the local level but managed by the state.

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67city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"or if the WRTA board members planned some sort of expansion to attract Boardman/Austintown riders. Unfortunately, no expansion is in the plan...only bringing back night and weekend routes that were previously discontinued."

It's true that they plan to bring back night and weekend routes. But, from what I've read, they do plan on some expansion of service.

From WRTA's website:
"By passing this ¼% sales tax, residents of Mahoning County will be guaranteed to receive the following services:

* Regularly scheduled community circulators and cross-town busses in suburban and urban locations for workers and people who have no other means of transportation
* County-wide small bus, door-to-door bus service to meet the growing travel needs of senior citizens and persons with disabilities
* Saturday, weekday and evening service to assist the people who have lost their jobs and those who can no longer get to medical appointments due to severe service cuts
* Mobility Management services and resources to help all social service agencies do a better job of meeting the travel needs of their clients"

At least the first two items on this list would be new features. (I'm not sure about the 4th item)

Some people in this discussion don't believe these things will be created, and no one is going to change their mind. I wish I knew why they were so convinced.

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68ysugrad1999(46 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Some really good points. I know I won't make my final decision until election day.

The one service 'city_resident' raised that I think would be really valuable is the second point. Senior citizens and the disabled must be taken care of. Our senior population locally and nationally is only growing larger. As these folks enter their 70's and 80's, we need to find a way to make them turn over their keys as they lose their ability to drive safely. Public transit could really help that effort. Question is, will they use it. The WRTA has a bad reputation when it comes to its current clientele. We all see who gets off of those buses. Will seniors feel safe to use it?

I would also agree the potential loss of the whole program is a huge blow to the revitalization of the city. A city must have public transit!!! I just think our current system is poorly managed and is used mainly by entitlement recipients. I feel like its yet another crutch we give those who just keep their hands extended for more handouts! If you drive up to Cleveland, you see a busing system and rapid/train system used by suburban workers traveling to and from downtown. That's just not the case here. Very few people from the burbs uses it.

It's a tough choice.....

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69ysugrad1999(46 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Teddy Roosevelt: Antidote For the Entitlement Culture

"The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight; that he shall not be a mere passenger, but shall do his share in the work that each generation of us finds ready to hand; and, furthermore, that in doing his work he shall show, not only the capacity for sturdy self-help, but also self-respecting regard for the rights of others."

-Theodore Roosevelt 1902

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70metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

WRTA is not pulling their weight,they are pulling us down with them.

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71dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Keep the WRTA as is, Youngstown city transportation. We do not need it to be county wide!

Vote NO on NOV 4TH!!

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72metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

It is maniy used by Younsgtown anyways .If the people are aginst a idea not much will change their minds if anytihng.

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73city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Vote YES on November 4th. In a future with high gas prices, any community that hopes to progress will have a mass-transportation system.

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74metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

oh come on you rally bleive they wil lhae bsues going to sebring and New Springfield? Give me a break. For one not many people live there fo naother those high ggas prices make it poitless to pick up a couple of peole for a area 10 to 15 miles away .this only helps youngsown everyone esle jsut pays for it.

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75TheLostPatrol(755 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Vote "NO" on the WRTA Levy and keep the shoplifters and purse snatchers out of Boardman's Business District. And don't worry about high gasoline prices; Unleaded Regular is at $2.55/gallon in parts of Akron today. Gasoline will be down to $1.79/Gallon by the Holidays.

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76metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Well maybe not tha low but it seems that it wil lgo down more. msut have had a middle school kid design thier web page. lol.

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77city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"What's a 'community circulator' and where will it be circulating?"

Jim Ferarro had said on the radio, when this was on the ballot the first time, that the outer areas like Sebring could have community circulators that take riders to Alliance and/or Salem.

"Does having 'cross-town busses [sic] in suburban and urban' settings mean we won't have to changes buses downtown to go from Liberty to Boardman, just as an example?"

Probably not, since downtown is on the way. But it might mean that one could take a bus from Poland directly to Canfield, or maybe from Austintown to Boardman/Canfield, etc.

"How exactly will Mobility Management services and resources help all the social service agencies meet the TRAVEL (not transportation) needs of their clients?"

I don't really know much about this. But, based on what I've read, here is what I think they're talking about: Have you noticed an increasing number of van buses running around the area that don't have WRTA colors? I see them quite often in the city. They are private busing/taxi companies that are under contract with county agencies, like Jobs and Family Services. JFS has contracted with these private transportation companies because their clients are unable to take the WRTA bus, but need transportation. If the sales tax passes, I think the WRTA will serve that role.

"Vote 'NO' on the WRTA Levy and keep the shoplifters and purse snatchers out of Boardman's Business District."

Can you provide statistics that prove the crime rate in the suburbs has dropped significantly with the drop in bus service?

"And don't worry about high gasoline prices; Unleaded Regular is at $2.55/gallon in parts of Akron today. Gasoline will be down to $1.79/Gallon by the Holidays."

Uh-huh. And, if it actually does keep going down, how long do you think it will stay down?

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78dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

That is such bull! WRTA is only interested in bringing back the nights and weekend to the routes they already run! They are saying these as other things to get people to vote for it. It is your usual politics. Lie to get what you want!

As for you talking about high gas prices. It is down to 2.99 a gallon, and it looks like it is going to keep going down. Gas is on it's normal cycle, high in the summer and low in the fall and winter.

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79city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"That is such bull! WRTA is only interested in bringing back the nights and weekend to the routes they already run! They are saying these as other things to get people to vote for it. It is your usual politics. Lie to get what you want!"

I really don't understand the logic behind this train of thought. If the WRTA doesn't do what it says it's going to do, they will never be able to pass the renewal in 5 years. (or pass anything ever again...) Why would they do something that stupid?

"As for you talking about high gas prices. It is down to 2.99 a gallon, and it looks like it is going to keep going down. Gas is on it's normal cycle, high in the summer and low in the fall and winter."

I don't follow gas prices. When was the last time gas was less than $3/gallon? Also, if this is cyclical, isn't it likely that gas will go back up to $4/gallon next summer?

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80metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

no and they would never ant there money to leave the city.

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81city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"Have you lived in this area long?"

I've only lived here for about 8 years.

"Politicians routinely do things they know are stupid, wasteful, just plain wrong, and so on. They still get re-elected."

Doesn't this say more about the voting public than the politicians? What you're saying is that the WRTA assumes that everyone is stupid and, once they get the sales tax passed, the public will just continue to pass their renewals regardless of how well the system works?

"It's been well established here in this discussion as well as out in real life, that the vast majority of bus riders are city residents."

It's also been well established that the WRTA is CURRENTLY paid for by city residents, and barely serves the suburbs accordingly. How can there be a lot of suburban riders if there is little service in the suburbs?

"The suburban residents don't use the bus, don't plan on using the bus, have never used the bus, and don't want to pay for the bus."

That's a pretty broad statement. Are really able to speak for all 170,000+/- of them?

"Boardman Township has a new tax on the ballot this time - how would you, as a city resident, feel about taking on another tax yourself and giving that money to Boardman,.."

This isn't an apples to apples comparison to the proposed WRTA sales tax. The county is being asked to pay for a new county-wide service.

Earlier in your last post, by saying: "the vast majority of bus riders are city residents," you seem to imply that city residents should be paying for bus service to the suburbs before suburban residents are willing to pay for it. Why do you feel that is OK?

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82city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"The entire county isn't being asked to support a new tax - the city of Youngstown is being asked if they'd like their property taxes to be lowered."

Oh, so you're voting "no" because people in the city will have their property taxes lowered?

"asking Youngstown residents to pay a tax to benefit Boardman can be rationalized by the same logic you're using to promote the bus levy"

You're going to have to explain this further.

"You'll never be able to get on a bus and the corner of Wright and Bettman and take it to the feed store in Beloit."

Is there enough traffic between these two points to make a fixed route feasible? If not, there would be the dial-a-ride option.

"I said the vast majority of bus riders are city residents. That's fact."

I never denied this. I then asked: "How can there be a lot of suburban riders if there is little service in the suburbs?"

"You're grasping at straws with your attempt to attribute ideas and implications to me that I never said, implicitly or explicitly."

Sorry about that. Will you asnwer my previous question, then?

"We'll find out on Election Day, won't we?"

Yes we will.

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83city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

BTW, sorry for the typos.

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84metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Funny thig is msot eople say they will vote no on this issue.

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85dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I am so sick of this levy! You have said they majority of the riders are Youngstown residents. So why should we, the burbs who do not ride the bus, vote to pay a sales tax to lower your property taxes. I think that is insane! Youngstown property taxes are so low already. And many of them don't even pay property taxes cause they live in low income housing, or section 8. City resident you are so worried about this tax passing to benefit your pocket not the riders or the number of bus routes. Are you going to vote yes on the Youngstown city school levy? I'm sure you not, cause having busing is so much more important then the education and the future of Youngstown, right?

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86city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"No, I'm voting NO because I don't want the extra tax, I don't think it's a wise use of a county-wide tax,"

Everyone is entitle to their opinion. And I think I've done my best (which probably isn't that good) to show why I disagree.

"No, there's not enough ridership on the entire WRTA system to make it feasible. Hence the financial difficulties it's in."

No, the system is in financial trouble because state and federal funding was cut. Even some "real" mass-tansit systems (Clevel"and, Chicago, etc.) had to make service cuts due to funding cuts.

"Sometimes one just has to admit something isn't working, and start over. This is one of those times."

You mean like changing from a city entity to a county entity; Changing the makeup of the board from 5 members appointed by the city to 7 members with only 3 appointed by the city?

"You cannot just arbitrarily stick a bus route somewhere and expect that, now that you've offered it, people will both want and use it."

Who is arbitrarily sticking anything anywhere? There will be more transit in places with more people. (there aren't many people in Antarctica) Boardman and Austintown, for example, each have somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 residents.

"Suburbanites have managed to get where they need to go without buses so far"

This isn't a logical argument. The U.S. managed to thrive for a long time before the automobile was invented. But that didn't stop anyone from buying a car when they became available.

"It's a different lifestyle in the suburbs than it is in the city, and that's what you seem to have trouble understanding."

I grew up in suburbia. I lived in Austintown for 2 years before moving to the city. When I made that move, I didn't notice a difference in lifestyle.

"Are you going to vote yes on the Youngstown city school levy? I'm sure you not, cause having busing is so much more important then the education and the future of Youngstown, right?"

I voted yes last time, and I plan to vote yes again.

I don't care about the additional $4/month that I would be saving with a lower property tax.

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87Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

“No, the system is in financial trouble because state and federal funding was cut. Even some "real" mass-tansit systems (Clevel"and, Chicago, etc.) had to make service cuts due to funding cuts.”

At least you admit that the WRTA is not a “real” system.

Let me get this straight, in the cities you mentioned, they cut service instead of attempting to extort funds out of other independent local governments that would gain nothing from the additional funds? Next thing you will try to tell me is that these other systems were so irresponsible that they also released and published their entire budgets!

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88city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"At least you admit that the WRTA is not a “real” system."

WRTA is a real system that has been crippled by funding cuts. Shame on them for trying to make it a real system again by becoming a county-wide entity.

BTW, dmets is the one who claimed, earlier in this discussion, that the WRTA isn't real mass-transit, and that Cleveland's and Chicago's systems are real. (and NYC's, too. I don't know if they had to make any service cuts because I don't have any friends who live there.)

"...in the cities you mentioned, they cut service instead of attempting to extort funds out of other independent local governments... ?"

First, WRTA has also made many service cuts. That's why ridership has fallen by 1/3.

Second, Cleveland had already joined with it's neighbors to fund their mass-transit system well in the past. I don't know much about Chicago's system.

"these other systems were so irresponsible that they also released and published their entire budgets!"

Can you provide a link to Cleveland's RTA budget? What did they tell you when you called WRTA and asked to see their budget?

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89Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

At least have the decency and common courtesy to get the quote correct –

“Next thing you will try to tell me is that these other systems were so irresponsible that they also released and published their entire budgets!”

“Cleveland had already joined with it's neighbors to fund their mass-transit system” – Could it possibly be that downtown Cleveland has shopping, massive employment opportunities, legitimate entertainment and real ties with long range (airport) transportation? Sort of like other areas would benefit from inexpensive transport INTO downtown Cleveland? Then, as a whole, they decided it was not worth increasing local funding to maintain service at the prior level?

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90metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

What do we have a few malls and such. not much really comapred to other places.

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91metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

who has? No one ever will.

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92city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"(and I can't wait for the incessant presidential garbage to be over!)"

Same here.

"when you lived in Austintown, did you ride the bus anywhere?"

I lived in Hillbrook Apartments. I rode the bus to and from work everyday. I never used the bus to go to the mall--for example--becuase it was too much trouble. First, I would have had to catch the Austintown bus headed downtown. (a 10 minute walk, and 20 minute ride) Then, I would have had to catch the Market, Glenwood, or South routes (the Market would have been the most direct) to ride down to the mall.

"Did any of your neighbors or friends? Did anyone seem to NEED a bus, and if so, was there a reason they couldn't move to where the buses already run?"

Occasionally, there were people waiting for the bus with me. But, we almost always stopped for more people from Austintown on the way into Youngstown. Also, the buses were rarely empty when I was dropped off at night. Since the Austintown was discontinued, I have seen a couple familiar faces switch to the Cornersburg route. So, I don't know if they moved, or just walk further.

I don't have a problem with more people moving into Youngstown. However, a lot of people seem to think living in the city is dangerous, so it seems strange to me that they would want to force elderly and disabled individuals to move into the city so that they can have access to public transportation.

"Your attempt to compare progress such as the invention of a new mode of transportation - the car - with an attempt to grab money from county residents who have never and will never want, need, or use a bus, is what's illogical."

We're never going to see eye to eye on this because we view this in fundamentally different ways. I see expanding mass-transit as progress, and you see it as the city stealing from the suburbs.

I'm out of time. I'll be back this evening.

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93dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

You act like all that live in the city are the elderly, and disabled. Maybe on the upper westside. But most of Youngstown is not in good shape at all. The crime rate is high. I would never advise anyone with a family(or actually anyone) to raise to move to Youngstown. Not only due to crime, but also cause their school system is terrible!

Still when it come to the WRTA levy, i am still voting NO on Nov 4th!

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94metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

how much money did all those sings cost they put up?

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95city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"At least have the decency and common courtesy to get the quote correct -"

Sorry, I'm starting to feel as though I'm overdoing the quote thing. So, I'm trying to cut down the phrases I'm quoting to only the relevant part.

"Could it possibly be that downtown Cleveland has shopping, massive employment opportunities, legitimate entertainment and real ties with long range (airport) transportation?"

Well, you're right that we don't have a major national or international airport that the bus can go to. But other than that, IMO, Cleveland is just a scaled up version of Youngstown with a lake. (or, Youngstown is a scaled down version of Cleveland without the lake) But this is all very subjective and off topic...

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96city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"You act like all that live in the city are the elderly, and disabled."

No, what I'm saying is that if someone who is elderly or disabled wants to remain independent without a car, they will have to move to the city, or rather limited areas of certain suburbs.

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97metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

so e should all pay for it then/Last I knew we don't even have 50% of our population over the age of 65 or soemtihng lcose to thta. either way it is not over 75%.

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98dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I do not call someone who relies on a bus system an independent person. Sorry city resident. I do not think us not passing the WRTA levy will make all these people put up for sale signs and move into the city of Youngstown. There are other ways for people to get around. Like family members, friends, and even wow cabs. Why is asking a family member or friend for a ride such a bad thing? It really is not. These people need to over the title of "independant" and start realizing we live in an area where busing is not our main concern.

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99city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"I do not call someone who relies on a bus system an independent person."

Tell that to the average New Yorker or Chicago resident, and see what kind of response you get.

"There are other ways for people to get around. Like family members, friends, and even wow cabs."

Do you always carpool? If not, why not? Is it because it's too much trouble/too inconvenient? There are people who don't like to be a constant burden on family and friends.

As far as taking a cab, it would cost me $12/day just to get to and from work. Occasionally taking a cab is fine. But the cost to the individual adds up quickly when they have to take a cab daily.

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100dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Those are actual big city where having a car in more of an inconvience then convience. You can not compare Chicago and/or NYC to Youngstown. Give me a break! i am taking about Youngstown OH specifically!

I always carpooled in high school, college, and work. I had a grandma who never drove. My mom, my brother, my dad, my aunt, and I took here everywhere she needed to go. We did it out of respect for her. These people should not even have to ask it should be offered.

As for the cab costing you too much. That's how I feel about a service I will not be using. It will be costing me money I can use for other things.

I am sorry you need to depend on the busing in Youngstown. But I do not think we, the county, should have to pay for the night and weekend bus routes to be put back in service. I also do not believe we should have to pay for a service that will never reach all parts of the WHOLE county.

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101metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

or even close to half the county.

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102city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"Those are actual big city where having a car in more of an inconvience then convience. You can not compare Chicago and/or NYC to Youngstown."

Why not? The users of their buses are just as "dependent" on them as the users of Youngstown's buses. Their systems are also subsidized by taxes, just like Youngstown's.

"I always carpooled in high school, college, and work."

That's great! But it sounds like you don't anymore. Why not?

"I had a grandma who never drove. My mom, my brother, my dad, my aunt, and I took here everywhere she needed to go. We did it out of respect for her. These people should not even have to ask it should be offered."

Again, that's great! But did you ever think that your grandma didn't want to be a burden on the rest of her family? And, what about all those people in the area who don't have anyone to depend on?

"As for the cab costing you too much. That's how I feel about a service I will not be using."

My destination is downtown, and I only live about 2 miles away. So, $6/trip is probably the least expensive cab ride. You'd have to buy $2400 of stuff for $6 of the sales tax to go to WRTA.

I'm not trying to make this personal. If it comes down to that, and I have to take a taxi to and from work, I'll just move away. I'm lucky enough financially to have that ability. Many others are stuck here.

"It will be costing me money I can use for other things"

Just FYI, $7 million +/_ (amount raised by the 0.25% sales tax) / 251,000 +/_ (population of Mahoning county) = $28 +/_ (the average cost per person per year) Of course, if you don't buy much stuff, you'd pay less sales tax. If you buy a couple cars, you're going to pay more. If you are really in that kind of financial trouble, I'll send you $28 if the sales tax passes.

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103metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

all is have to say is it better go where they say it will and not into someone elses pocket.

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104dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

i don'y car pool anymore cause i am not in high school, college, and i do not have to work. I am a stay at home mom. As for my grandma she never felt like a burden cause she never was to any of us. I think the only way a person would feel that way is if the epople made them feel that way. As for you two miles from work, is you route in trouble if the levy does not pass? If so then i can see your point in wanting the levy to pass. If it is not i do not understand why.

Also the whole NYC, many of those people also walk to work and many, so many take the subway. Not many go by bus. I so stand by there is NO way you should even try to compare NYC to Youngstown. NYC is a thriving hugh city, youngstown is a decaying teeny tiny city.

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105city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"As for my grandma she never felt like a burden cause she never was to any of us. I think the only way a person would feel that way is if the epople made them feel that way."

My mom comes up to visit every 3-4 weeks (she lives in Massillon) to visit and help me run errands that I can't do myself. Now mom has never implied such, but I feel as though I'm a burden, regardless, and I don't like it.

I've read about others' experiences in other cities, and it's been written over and over that the fastest way to lose a friend is to ask them for rides everywhere--even if you're willing to pay for gas.

"As for you two miles from work, is you route in trouble if the levy does not pass? If so then i can see your point in wanting the levy to pass. If it is not i do not understand why."

No, it's unlikely that they'd cut both the Steel and the Cornersburg routes. In fact, since they are already running bare-bones service, I don't think they will do much cutting at all if the sales tax fails. As I've said before, this isn't about continuing service, it's about expanding service and making it better.

The only thing I have to gain if this passes is increased mobility. But that's not why I'm fighting so hard for it. Going to the mall or Lowes on my own isn't that big of a deal to me. I'm fighting so hard because I see the value--for the whole community--in having improved mass-transit.

"so many take the subway. Not many go by bus. I so stand by there is NO way you should even try to compare NYC to Youngstown."

There's no difference between riding the bus or something on rails. They're each part of the same system that is partially subsidized by taxes.

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106dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Let me say this, when i was just in Cleveland it cost $7 round trip for my husband and I on the rapid to get to downtown. I would have spent less money in gas driving there myself.

I do believe there is a hugh difference between a bus and a subway. You just don't see it the same way I do. And that is completely fine with me.

You have your reasons for voting yes to levy, and I have my reasons for voting no. Neither one of us will ever change each others' minds.

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107TheDudeAbides(25 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

For those of you that say the WRTA's financial woes are the City of Youngstown's problem and they should pay for them, well maybe the City of Youngstown should tell the suburbs to get their own water.

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108Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

“My destination is downtown, and I only live about 2 miles away. So, $6/trip is probably the least expensive cab ride. You'd have to buy $2400 of stuff for $6 of the sales tax to go to WRTA.”

And now we get to the real crux of the problem. We all agree the tax support (City, state federal, etc.) is something North of $5 per rider based on the 4,000 number. If you pay $1 as a riderand I as a taxpayer pay $5 or more, don’t we have that $6 taxi ride? What if, as I suspect, the actual tax subsidy is already $5 per mile, we have $11 for that 2 mile ride.

Either way, you are saying that some or a lot of money needs to come from non-rider taxpayers to underwrite WRTA’s cost. You are expecting me to underwrite your transportation even more than I am now through federal and state subsidies.

If the WRTA could reduce its’ cost, couldn’t the system restore the routes that were dropped? A government agency downsizing to increase its’ value to taxpayers? What a novel idea.

Then there is this fine gem “maybe the City of Youngstown should tell the suburbs to get their own water”.

Well bucko, the burbs that use city water already pay a hefty surcharge for the water. As they are now seeking bids from Aqua, the city will loose not only the surcharges but also the base rates as they migrate to the new supplier. Since the city can not afford the cost of the water department on just city revenues, the system will collapse under its own financial weight and likely be sold, to Aqua. As far as the infrastructure, a 25 year bond next year will take care of that very well in the unlikely case they loose the court case.

The burb I live in already uses Aqua., if the burb my business is located in succumbs to the JEDD extortion instead of going to Aqua, guess what? I am going to move the business. Either way my employees will not be subjected to a confiscatory city tax. Would you stand for a 2 ½% cut in your welfare/SSI/food stamps/WIC/Section 8 payments?

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109metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

No andd the city should give u before they get knocked out. This makes them look even badder taking on the subarbs over water. it does not help anyone,only hurts us all in the long run.

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110city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"We all agree the tax support (City, state federal, etc.) is something North of $5 per rider based on the 4,000 number."

Sure it's in the range of $5 per passenger. I think it's a bit south of $5, but fares aren't $1 either. So it balances out.

"If you pay $1 as a riderand I as a taxpayer pay $5 or more, don’t we have that $6 taxi ride?"

I'm usually the second to last person to get on the bus in the morning, and usually the first to get off at night. That means that the other riders would have a more expensive taxi ride.

"What if, as I suspect, the actual tax subsidy is already $5 per mile, we have $11 for that 2 mile ride."

I still don't understand why you hold onto this notion of $5/mile.

"Either way, you are saying that some or a lot of money needs to come from non-rider taxpayers to underwrite WRTA’s cost."

That's the way taxes work. Members of a community share the cost, so that it's not too much of a burden on a single person. Lets use the road in front of your house as an example. Did you pay for your section of road to be paved and maintained? Or, was it paved by a government entity? If you didn't pay for it yourself, then does everyone in your suburb drive on your road everyday? Seems like that would be a lot of traffic... If not, then you're asking everyone else to pay for that road that only a few people use.

"If the WRTA could reduce its’ cost, couldn’t the system restore the routes that were dropped?"

So, you did call the WRTA offices to get a copy of their latest budget? In what ways do you think they could reduce their costs?

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111city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"I do believe there is a hugh difference between a bus and a subway. You just don't see it the same way I do. And that is completely fine with me."

Sure, trains are cooler, but buses are more cost effective. If the WRTA wanted to put in rail lines, we'd be talking about tens of millions of dollars just for installation. (It's too bad the old lines were all ripped out years ago...)

"Neither one of us will ever change each others' minds."

You're right, and that's fine. But someone else might come along and read your post and think: "hey, that's a good point." So, I'll continue to respond and try illustrate the other side of the issue.

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112dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

See the difference is we can find other places to get water. You act like Youngstown is the only one with a water connection. They are not. Plus I think a major law suit would be brought on the city of youngstown if they decided to just cut off everyone's water but their own.

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113metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

They would do it too. they are deperate for money and who nkows what they wil do to try to egt more money,legal or not. eer wonder why so many epople try to not apy the IRS? It's becuase a lot of people feel tax money is not going where they say it iis and ever year they go up. tey end up more i nother people's pockets then itno new roads,brifress and such.

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114cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

You can get water anywhere but the lines are owned by the city of Youngstown. I was just reading that the local churches all endorse the levy for mass transit because they see it as a community issue--I mean really how much is the levy going to actually cost you our of pocket? Next to nothing I think--it is just amazing to me that a community is actually against mass transit. I'm quite sure the levy will be defeated and as with the last election, the same old posters will be on here bragging about how the suburbs defeated busing and kept "those people" out of their communities--gee I wonder why this area is dying? No cooperation, no regionalization despite the fact that every study advocates it--nothing but racism and division.

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115dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Sure the churches endore it. They figure it will put more people in their churches and more money in their pockets. The area is dying? No it is dead, and now decaying and mass transit is to going to bring it back to life. I'm just sick of everyone wanting more money, more money, more money. Everyone has there hands out expecting everyone to afford things for them. People are sick of it!

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116city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"No it is dead, and now decaying and mass transit is to going to bring it back to life."

I don't think the area is dead or dying; we're just in a tough economy right now. But that's an argument for another discussion.

No one ic claiming that better mass-transit is going to turn this area around. It is just one of a number of factors that need to be in place to have a thriving community.

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117metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

well some people would tell you it is needed or else our economy will suffer.

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118ytown9999(55 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

As hot a topic as this is, no one gets the bigger picture here. We can debate the bus all day long, there is more to it than that.

Cityguy- Take a look at the last election NO LEVY passed (that I can think of anyway). They were all defeated. The people have been taxed beyond the amount that they feel is reasonable and will not stand for more taxes for ANYTHING. Do you honestly think that people who vote against schools and are willing to see police laid off and fire stations closed give a damn about the bus service?

And don't get me wrong, I voted against most of them too. When I don't get a raise, I have to budget and "tough it out". The goverment just thinks they can remain bloated and keep coming back to the infinite pool of money - OUR POCKETS. Well, everyone has had enough of that and are finally standing up about it. The government has pulled that for too long, and now if they actually are hurting no one cares. Cry wolf....

And city_resident... a tough economy RIGHT NOW? It's been a downward spiral in this area for, oh, about 31 years now. People don't want to hear the "times are tough" line anymore either. That's another ad nauseum excuse.

Couple that with the fact that there are a bunch of idiots in this town who keep voting in the same idiot politicians (or their ilk) that lead us here and viola- Youngstown! Hell, they would still being electing Chance, Philomena, and Traficant if they could and let them serve from prison!

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119metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Hmm,he only honest polotican is one that is dead or not elected.

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120city_resident(509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"Do you honestly think that people who vote against schools and are willing to see police laid off and fire stations closed give a damn about the bus service?"

That's a good point. But, people have this opportunity to either pass a new sales tax to pay for expanded bus service. Or, they can pay MORE to transport people on a privately operated bus/taxi.

From the article: "When the authority discontinued some service, the Mahoning County Department of Job and Family Services was forced to pick up the slack. It costs $800 a month per client for taxi or van-type transportation..."

We've established that it costs about $5/trip on the WRTA. $800 would pay for 160 trips in a month on the WRTA. How likely is it that these people are taking 7 trips a day?

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121HARDBOILED(1 comment)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

To all the negative opinions about the WRTA, I would wish that the uninformed individuals would, if they(probably not) would ride on a WRTA unit talk to the people that have to ride them, and the reasons they have to ride. The "people" that live in the so-called burbs are to good to ride the buses or so it seems. If the uninformed persons would only realize they will pay a little bit now; or a lotta bit when Human Services has to increase their county tax. The people of Mahoning County really s__k, and I have lived here all my life, but am moving out shortly, been everywhere in the country and that writer for the Rolling Stones wasn't to far off the Mark.

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122metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

No it was right on the money.

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