Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RTD and the Great Tax Increase

It is clear the RTD Board recognizes the challenge ahead is to make visible progress on the FasTracks proposal within the revenue stream it was provided in 2004.

Unfortunately, the FasTracks concept, created by the previous RTD general manager and adopted by much of the region’s political and business community was mostly a sham. Too many decisions were based on election politics and not on analysis of what was justified or could be afforded.

Getting back on track will take more than just more of the same election promotion, which unfortunately is the current proposed strategy by boosters and their consultants. To actually win public support, RTD should:

• Not discuss a tax increase until the economy gets to a sustained level of growth to both relieve the pressure on residents’ discretionary income and to have real-time verification that revenue increases from current tax levels will not be sufficient for a more fiscally realistic project.

• Have a serious evaluation of every line as justified by use and not just politics of 2004, which was an economic world ago. Would buses be a better answer in some corridors?

• Is it possible that a proactive governor and metro legislative leadership would insist that any new tax revenue (if needed) be shared between metro transit and roads to achieve some real relief of traffic congestion and not just a political trade-off?

(See Denver Post article: FasTracks backers seek cash and Denver Post editorial)

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