By Ron Harriman
My research has led me to conclude that in a basically rural area, transit fares will only cover 8% of the costs.
Urban costs Are:
TRIMET which is Portland’s transit system records a 2013 income of $152,698,000 from fares and a cost of $577,860,000 a net loss of over $425,162,000 a year which was partially paid for with an payroll employee tax of $259,233,000.
UTRAX which is Salt Lake’s transit system had an operating income of $52,044,000 an operating expense of $378,224,993 and a loss of $326,180,793 during 2013, which was paid by a local sales tax. Each rider costs the system $8.50 after fares were totaled.
DENVER’S Regional Transit RTD cost 50 times the cost of highways when built and is paid by a sales and use tax. Denver’s 2013 transit balance sheet shows that total fares were $117,841,000 but the costs were $511,481,000 a loss of $388,441,000.
When I last looked, constructing a transit system in the Treasure Valley would have cost $1.1 billion and would lose a minimum of $91 million a year with a more likely figure of $131 million.
For Valley Ride, the public’s fare cost for those using the bus today is $8.00+ after the fee is deducted. However, the ACHD Commuter Van is cost efficient with fares equaling the cost.
There are some salient facts that defeat the profitability of transit. First, 90+% of the businesses in Idaho are small business wherein there are less than 20 employees. Second, there are no consolidated large employer areas which could use mass transit. Third, it would clean the air about ½ of 1%, based on EPA date. (Data from the U.S. Census average of commuter use is 3% of daily travel. The Idaho EPA identifies vehicle emissions as contributing 20% of the air pollution. 20% x .03=.6 of 1%.) With these existing factors, where would the transit take the commuters?
We need a reliable bus system and we will pay for it, the rider won’t. I believe that the cheapest public transportation is actually the Private Cab.
The above listed data is recorded budget data from Portland’s TRIMET, Salt Lake City’s UTA, and Denver’s RTD) Facts are that in a basically rural area transit fares will only cover 8% of the costs. * (Rural Transit Fact Book 2014)
Mr. Harriman describes himself as a community and political activist living in Nampa and Chairman of the Tax Accountability Committee of Idaho
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