We just sent Asheville City Council a letter calling for them to take definitive steps right now to put Asheville’s Transit system on the path to service that operates in more areas for longer hours, seven days a week and at higher frequencies.
Click here and join us in asking Council to develop a plan to grow the city’s transit operating budget by $5 million in the next 5 years.
The way we do the math, 5 by 5 = Transit4all!
Dear Mayor Manheimer and City Council Members,
The Asheville Regional Transit Coalition (ARTC) believes transit service that operates in more areas for longer hours, seven days a week and at higher frequencies will greatly benefit local residents and businesses and lead to a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable community.
These priorities aren’t new. They were all included as recommendations in the City’s 2009 Transit Master Plan, yet there is still not a clear implementation plan or dedicated funding stream to achieve transit service all day, every day and more often.
We very much appreciate Council’s apparent commitment to an additional $630,000 in the FY2018 budget to expand Sunday and weekday service. That is an excellent first step, but it is only the first of many that need to happen.
The Asheville Regional Transit Coalition calls on City Council and city staff to develop a plan to grow the city’s transit operating budget by $5 million over 2017 levels in the next five years to create the transit system our city needs and our residents deserve.
This conservative estimate would bring the operating budget from $7 million to $12 million a year in 2022. A total operating budget of $12 million is still lower than the $15 million budget that the 2009 Transit Master Plan (see Exhibit 6-8) projected we would need by 2020.
We believe that now is the time for you to set a definitive vision and plan for transit, while the process is underway to determine how the City’s new property tax revenues will be spent and the Transit Master Plan is being updated . A city property tax increase of just one cent per $100 property valuation could yield approximately $1 million in the first year. The Asheville Regional Transit Coalition is not advocating for a particular source of funding, but we do see property revaluation as a timely opportunity.
What is important is that setting a clear funding commitment to implement the Transit Master Plan update now, at the beginning of the process, ensures the end result will best serve all who depend on or choose public transit. Setting a funding level precedent now also provides more clarity for those firms responding to the City’s Transit Master http://www.transit4all.com Plan RFP, so they are able to better plan for a system that has funding levels committed to by Council.
Don’t leave the future of Asheville’s transit system up to chance. You have the opportunity now to set us on a path for increasing the transit budget by $5 million in the next five years. In five years, do you want to see a transit system that is best serving Asheville residents and visitors or is failing people on a daily basis and falling further behind peer cities’ transit systems in the Southeast? Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Instead, join us in moving Asheville to transit service all day, every day, more often, for the good of all in our community.
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