Today is the second to last meeting for the Regional Transit Task Force. I haven’t really done this live blogging thing before to we’ll see how this goes.
8:45 – I’m out. The meeting is slowly wrapping up.
8:36 – Rob likes the report. There is lots of specificity about definitions of specific performance measures. Josh Cavanaugh and Jim Stanton agree. People leaving slowly. Meeting is running over time now. The results of this meeting won’t really be known until the discussion at the next meeting.
8:35 – Onto the draft now. Looks like another meeting is necessary.
8:27 – David Freiboth says what is the ask and when to make an effective ask. How much work goes into the ask and what makes an effective ask. If the state wants to move fast this will give Metro the ability know what the ask will be.
8:25 Both Rob and Josh are bring up the point, what if the state is the one pushing a re-organization of transportation funding next year. What happens then. What does Metro try to do then.
8:16 Fred Butler is saying that he thinks that Metro needs to really create a good detailed and sustainable long term funding plan. If Metro does that it will distinguish it’s self from other agencies. Jim Stanton says that he thinks this should really be put in the context of all transit agencies, not just Metro.
8:09 Lots of jokes about drinks. Cool-Aid, Tea, Mikes hard Lemonade. Long story.
8:03 David Freiborth says that he is hearing people running for cover, and not committing to new funding. Grant says that he thinks you can only go to people once you have already implemented changes and made cuts. Only after that point can you ask.
More after the jump.
8:00 Flow how to change Metro’s plans. RTTF gives recommendation, then the Executive writes it into the plan, then the regional transit commission reviews it and updated the comprehensive plan, that plan is then sent to the council.
7:55 – Tom Rasmussen says at what point do we say enough cuts are enough. When do we can no longer take cuts and we need short term funding. Grant says that he thinks one year is the time period Metro has to wait. He would rather go to the state when a strong case the first time, not go right away before a strong case has been made. Take a year to build a strong coalition and next year go to the state unified and organized. I have to say I think he has a good point.
7:46 – Back! The moderator is trying to summarize what he has been seeing. Long term, sustainable funding sources also important and that could take several years. Some members of the group want to pursue more funding after Metro has started to implement some of the RTTF recommendations. Other people think that the work already done by Metro and the work done by the RTTF is sufficient to allow Metro to go to the state with the promise that those changes will still be made.
7:30 – To me it is looks like everyone agrees that Metro needs more money and really needs a sustainable long term funding structure. Where there is disagreement is about how to ensure that Metro will make changes. Disagreement about short term changes. Short break.
7:29 – Estela Ortega says that there needs to be unity not only between the RTTF members but also between riders.
7:22 Kate Joncas says that she isn’t okay with cutting service. She world with people don’t have a car and transit is essentially for them to get to work and out of poverty. Without transit these people can’t live. What kind of transit service does a job site have is usually the second question she gets asked.
7:14 – Time line for implementation of the RTTF plan. Regional Transit Committee needs to review the plan, and the only way for that to happen is Metro needs to update the comprehensive plan.
7:10 – Tom Rasmussen agrees with Eastside member that Metro needs to show that they are moving forward on the RTTF plan. What is the sufficient level of evidence for this? There is only so much Metro can do before the state legislative session starts.Progress has to be made quickly on a local level so that Metro can go to the state this year.
7:06 – Carl Jackson says that Metro has to move forward on all fronts. “Riders should not be considered collateral damage… don’t go to the state like GM with your hat in your hand and a three piece suit on.”
7:00 – Grant doesn’t agree with Kevin. He says the RTTF recommendations won’t be implemented yet so he thinks it is too early to leapfrog the recommendations and go right to the state. Kevin rebuttal is he is simply saying that the public and legislators have to recognize that Metro has already done a lot.
6:58 – Kevin Desmond says that Metro has already done a lot of things to cut cost, increase fares, implement efficiencies, and use the audits to stave off cuts. Remember while many agencies nation wide have had significant cuts in service Metro mostly has been able to avoid that. Metro needs to maybe do a better job of communicating that.
6:53 – Josh Kavanagh (UW) says that there is a difference between asking for money and asking for the authority to go to the voters. He also says that he think letting riders “feel the pain” before going to the state for more money is dangerous. From his experience with the UPass he feels that doing that can fundamentally harm the system.
6:55 – Carla Saulter (bus chick) says that Metro’s problem is partly cost problems, but mostly related to the recession and lack of sustainable funding sources.
6:50 – What does the RTTF think is the best way to go about getting new funding, or should Metro no ask at all?
6:45 – David Feriboth says that legislators from outside of King county have disdain because of the disagreement and lack of consensus. If the RTTF can come to consensus about how to move forward that will go a long ways to improving perception of Metro.
6:40 – Rob Johnson counters Eastside RTTF members that if Metro has to first make all cuts before getting more money that means riders will be left at the curb.
6:32 – Suzette Cooke (Mayor of Kent) says that she thinks that VLF is dead on arrival. “People are very sensitive to a 20 dollar fee because of how it has historically be used”. Grant Degginger (Council member of Bellevue) says that he doesn’t see that state giving Metro more money before it demonstrates that Metro can cut costs. Metro has show it can do this before he sees the state giving Metro more money.
6:24 – Q: What is the most likely funding strategy the state would be receptive to? A: Ask for moderate, short term, stop-gap funding provision (vehicle license fee “VLF” most likely) with a sunset clause and then stay at the table for a more long term solution that is structurally more robust. “… VLF in their TBD…” I’m a bit lost I have to admit. Can’t write in listen at the same time. No limit on growth of fees, but limit on growth of taxes.
6:21 – Q: How do you make state legislators more receptive of Metro asking for more money? A: Legislators have told Metro that they need to get their house in order before state legislator are willing to go to the mat for transit. The RTTF will help with this.
6:20 – Metro will purse additional cost efficiencies regardless of new revenue because their simply isn’t enough money to fill the funding hole, especially in the long term.
6:18 – State senate pushing back against giving transit agencies more money because they want transit agencies to come to the table hungry. 2011 or later is when the state will start to deal with this issue.
6:13 – Funding solutions. Short term $20 dollar license fee with sunset provision. Long term, MVET, roadway pricing with partial transit revenue stream, additional sales tax, property tax, etc. Property tax would be hard because growth of property tax is already hitting state growth limits. All Puget Sound transit agencies are at, or close to using up all sales tax authority (1%).
6:07 – Now looking at 2011 legislative picture. Everything is up in the air, but layers of cuts on the state level. Not too much federal money coming in anymore, SAFETY-LU re-authorization in limbo.
6:05 – Very roughly every ten cents increase in diesel cost is ~1 million in operating costs.
5:55 – Cuts will be ~120K in 2012, ~200K in 2013, ~120K in 2014, ~100K in 2015. For perspective, 600K hours is all Sunday service. Service reductions could be larger, especially in later years if is sales tax growth is less than assumptions.
5:57 – By 2015 $70 million would be needed annually to retain 2011 service levels.
5:50 – The reductions of service are coming from base funding. Although this segment is getting smaller other sources grow between the 2009 to 2011 fiscal years. After that point the other non-base funding are roughly stable, while base funding continues to fall.
5:37 – Meeting starting, introductions all around. Lots of long titles. First focusing on the financial forecast, and then they will talk about the draft recommendations.