The public can weigh in on strategies for reducing service in March
OCTA is planning on reducing up to 300,000 hours of service in March in an effort to bridge a continuing budget gap. OCTA faces a more than $330 million shortfall over the next five years due to a decline in sales tax revenue and fare revenue and the elimination of the State Transit Assistance fund.
Â Transit Advocates of Orange County point out…Â
There’s only one way to prevent bus cuts:
Give it back.
It’s time to return OCTA-controlled funds to the bus system.
OCTA is cutting bus service because of lower sales tax revenues and the elimination of bus transit operations funding. The only way to prevent these cuts is to find more funding. Fortunately, OCTA already has sufficient funds within its control that can be re-assigned back to bus service, without any new monies from state or federal sources. Given the crucial role transit plays in retaining jobs and protecting the local economy, it is only fair to revisit decisions made in better times.
A total of $125 million was diverted from bus monies for the Bristol Street Widening project, with approximately $50 million still remaining unspent. $46 million was borrowed from transit monies to purchase the 91 Express lanes. Finding another source to fund general OCTA road planning could free up $4 million a year of bus-eligible monies. OCTA often talks about “the color of money” to explain why they can’t spend road monies on buses. We understand. But why are BUS monies being used to widen Bristol St.?
For TAOC’s full funding platform, go to www.transitrideroc.com/sites/default/files/TAOC%20Platform%20Flyer.pdf.
The public hearing will be held at 9 a.m. at OCTA headquarters, 600 S. Main Street in Orange.
More than 175 bus riders and transit supporters attended community meetings and nearly 500 comments have been mailed or submitted online.
Public feedback will assist OCTA as it explores ways to reduce service in March, which could include reducing or eliminating the least productive routes, reducing service proportionally system wide and/or modifying days and hours of operation.
For more information on the bus service reductions, visit www.octa.net/marchchange.