City Council reverses transit cuts and preserves Saturday service

Woman with cane riding city bus

Last night at the Columbia City Council meeting, Council members discussed a letter from the Public Transit Advisory Commission (PTAC) which addressed the upcoming devastating cuts to transit, and urged Council to reconsider the decision to entirely cut Saturday transit service.

The Columbia 2019 and 2020 budgets have dealt a severe blow to public transit directly impacting thousands of our citizens in their work, health, and family matters, in addition to severely curtailing any hoped-for progress to market Columbia as a progressive, accessible transportation community.

Katherine Lee, PTAC Chair

We submitted the letter below to each City Council member in support of PTAC’s call for change.

In response to the continued outpouring of community support for transit, Council reversed their decision and reallocated funding to preserve Saturday service.

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March 18, 2019

Mayor Treece and City Council Members,

I would like to submit PedNet Coalition’s strong support for the letter from the Public Transit Advisory Commission on your Council agenda tonight.

We fully support PTAC’s assessment of the disconnect between the Strategic Plan’s social equity/infrastructure goals and the City’s current budget plan to disinvest in transit.

In addition to the Strategic Plan, the devastating cuts to transit also work against community members’ and the City’s stated priorities in many other plans:

In Columbia Imagined, 1/3 of the plan’s high-level goals for this visionary future of the city include improving transit service.

In the 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan, transit service improvements are a strategy and performance measure of every single goal.

Improvements to transit service align with Vision Zero‘s goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and serious injuries.

In the 2013 Community Health Assessment, transit is included as a component of the public health system and “more public transit” is listed as part of the vision of what Boone County will look like in 2023.

The upcoming Climate Action & Adaptation Plan has not yet been released, but as a Climate Task Force member I can share with you that the plan’s transportation recommendations rely heavily on a robust transit system in order to achieve the goals adopted by Council to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We fully support and applaud Council Member Skala’s proposal to reallocate 2.5% of the transportation sales tax each from roads and the airport to increase the transit budget. If the rough calculations are correct, this would result in a matched increase of approximately $1.2 million, an 18% increase to the transit operating expenses budget. This increase would be significant for improving service.

We ask for your commitment to reinvest in transit so the City of Columbia and our community members can achieve our highest priority goals.

Thank you,

Annette Triplett
Executive Director
PedNet Coalition

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