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SASY Neighbor Ellen Rulseh: Let's get creative on mass transit options

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  • Michael D. Barrett
    Dear Editor: I recently learned that Madison s municipal budget recommends a 50 cent increase in bus fares. Given Mayor Dave s sustainability and green
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2008
      Dear Editor:

      I recently learned that Madison's municipal budget recommends a 50 cent
      increase in bus fares. Given Mayor Dave's "sustainability" and "green"
      initiatives, doesn't that proposal throw us into reverse gear?

      Perhaps we should consider the cost benefits that a fleet of
      fare-free(!) electric or zero-carbon-emission-powered buses and minivans
      would provide: less congestion, way less municipally emitted CO2, cost
      savings for users. It would attract tourists and maybe even be fun!
      "Let's go to Madison, see the sights, have lunch, do some shopping and
      ride those cool, new 'green' free minivans and buses around town!" The
      buses, designed to meet "LEED" type standards, should also be
      comfortable, durable and "upscale." A zero-carbon-emission Mercedes bus.
      People standing in crowds in the rain to get on board. If it doesn't
      exist, let's put out an international request for a proposal to get them
      here and now.

      But how to pay for this? For one, how about a sliding-scale,
      employee-streets-user fee collected by employers and sent in to the city
      annually? Set fees (supplementing state and federal grants) at a level
      to displace the current cost of fares and also cover the program's
      administrative cost.

      People would be more likely to part with a user fee of $10, $20, $40 or
      more per year if they knew it would help reduce congestion of their
      morning commute, clean up the air and be a service they could also use -
      for free!

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