Thursday, December 21, 2006

Public Transit Initiatives

I haven't published any posts on the election results in November. This is primarily due to my disbelief in Idaho moving more conservative as the rest of the country moved more towards the democrats. This shouldn't come as a surprise as our state has the second highest presidential approval rating, still above 50%. But that is not supposed to be the topic of this post.

In a recent newsletter from the Coalition for Regional Public Transportation, a group which I have the honor of representing my company in, I learned of many successful ballot measures for public transportation across the country. Unfortunately, there weren't any in Idaho. Yet.

Across the nation, $40 billion in new public transit funding was approved. Voters in 13 states approved 21 of the 33 ballot measures, including 7 statewide initiatives.  This provides me hope for the future of the Treasure Valley of Idaho. As I have mentioned before in this blog, Idaho is one of only 4 states which provide no state funding for transit and restricts local funding of transit - Hawaii, Alaska, and Mississippi are the others. The coalition is working with the Idaho legislature to allow local option funding. This isn't an initiative to raise taxes, its an initiative to allow us to ask the citizens if they want to pay for public transit. Today in Idaho, we can't even do that.

If we are successful in this legislature, in November 2008, we will get to vote to approve our own transportation system expansion.

Today was an interesting transit day for me. The double Christmas Whammy hit. The bus service runs slower the week before Christmas as many bus routes converge on the mall. The traffic in and out of the mall, delays the buses through the day. We were also hit with a mid-day snow storm. The result - I waited 35 minutes in the snow for my bus. Since the bus only runs once an hour, it greatly limit your options.

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