Monday, June 11, 2012

Could RTD Get Any More Embarrassing?

The latest “surprise” over Burlington Northern wanting more money, sooner than RTD’s managing team expected, adds to the pervasive distrust RTD generates from the public, including even supporters of transit.

As obvious to most, the 2004 regional transit proposal was a political plan, not a transit plan.  It’s no longer credible or relevant.  A $4 billion plan that now costs $8 billion will not be funded in this economy.

So, if areas want transit, and many do, they need to get creative. Mayor Steve Hogan has proposed the citizens of Aurora tax themselves to fund bonds to build the proposed I-225 rail line.  RTD’s funding stream would pay it off over the years.

As Sara Castellanos described in the Aurora Sentinel:
“Voters need to be guaranteed that the project will be completed on time, on budget, and that RTD will repay the loan over a period of time, said Floyd Ciruli, political analyst and Denver pollster.”
“‘One of the problems with RTD is that its projections of revenue or expenses has not been good and has raised a lot of skepticism,’ Ciruli said.  ‘But if people were confident that indeed they would get this, I think this might be a potential solution.’
He said Hogan’s idea falls in line with the city’s recent efforts to spearhead economic development.
‘My sense is that Aurora and certainly its leadership are anxious to get some things done,’ Ciruli said.
Next year is as good a year as any to put this type of question on the ballot, he said.
‘The general rule of these projects is that there is never a perfect time,’ Ciruli said.
Either the economy is too sluggish or there are competing ballot questions that take attention away from the transportation question, he said.
‘Ultimately when a project is this big and takes a long time to get done, you sort of just have to set a date and push forward,’ he said.”

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