Wednesday, March 25, 2009

City Staff Proposes To Hold On Virginia Beach Bus Service

The draft Budget presented to the Virginia Beach City Council last night proposes the "same old same old" on bus service: no service cuts (which other cities may be facing), but no new service.

Where the latter comes into play is with light rail. Under Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulations, Virginia Beach must boost it's current year-round bus service by at least 20% in order to get in the queue for Federal light rail funding. If they don't go in FY 2010, then they absolutely, positively must boost bus service in FY 2011 by at least 20%!

Talk about "dollar wise and penny foolish": Virginia Beach will spend $40 million on the Norfolk Southern Right-Of-Way for light rail, only to face seeing the investment bottlenecked by the failure to provide adequate bus service. Does City Hall get it?

19 comments:

Brian Kirwin said...

So, Henry. Which are you advocating? Taking the 20 million from the state and spending it on something different than it was budgeted, along with the 5 million from HRT, and the 5 million from a utility easement, and pocket the money and buy buses instead?

Virginia Beach only put up 10 million for it, not 40.

Or, do you have an idea of where to find the money for the buses you want to buy?

Avenging Archangel said...

Brian,

We wouldn't need any new buses; simply keep the existing buses on the road another 4 hours at night.

Without the additional service, we're buying a ROW that we can't get Federal funding to build a rail line down.

Reid Greenmun said...

That BRT line down the old NS ROW will wsork out nicely and SAVE taxpayers a whole lot of money.

Especially when a private sector firm puts their offer on the table for a public-private partnership to provide the service.

No non-flexible Light Rail required to move people along that old NS rail line.

Instead we add mass transit capacity that can be used throughout the city in times of surge needs such as special events or evacuations.

Avenging Archangel said...

So the same Reid Greenmun who couldn't say enough nasty things about BRT when it was on the table in 2005 now wants to pretend that BRT is an option?

Since a transit line down the NS ROW has been City policy for 6 years now, where is this private offer all of a sudden going to come from?

Show me the private offer and I'll read it. Until then, Reid Greenmun is simply lying yet again.

Brian Kirwin said...

Henry, answer my questions. Where is the money for your proposal coming from?

Avenging Archangel said...

Brian,

If City Staff can find $10 million for the unbudgeted ROW, they can certainly find $200-300K for the bus service.

Brian Kirwin said...

So, you'd want to renege on the Right-of-way to buy buses?

Brian Kirwin said...

...or increase bus service rather.

thesh00ter said...

if i'm not mistaken, i think Henry means they can find additional money. that's how i feel anyway, especially if it speed up the process of being qualified for light rail

Brian Kirwin said...

I'm not impressed by people who propose more spending without any idea of how to "find additional money"

Shopping is easy if you don't have to stop at the cashier.

thesh00ter said...

one way or the other, city council should've thought of this before jumping the gun and setting that money just for the ROW. i refuse to believe they didn't know having increased bus service was a requirement. i'm still trying to figure why they're service is so restricted. Hampton even has buses that run on Sun up to 7 o'clock. kinda backwards if u ask me. here it is VB is looking to have light rail but has limited local bus service and Hampton isn't even talking about rapid transit, not even a hint of it in there Master Plan, and they have buses that run up to midnight during the week. strange huh?

Avenging Archangel said...

Shooter,

Correct on both counts:

1. My position is "both".

2. Virginia Beach knew about the bus requirement.

Their position is like buying the food for a cookout, then complaining not to have money to cover charcoal.

Brian Kirwin said...

And still you can't tell me where the money would come from to pay for what you advocate.

$300,000 a year. Fire some employees? Raise a tax or fee? Name something. Anything. The budget is up for amendment right now.

You could get this done if you propose something more than magic.

thesh00ter said...

well that amount compared to the other millions being spent i would definitely raise something to get that amount. i know what ur thinking Mr Kirwin, i agree that's really a no-no. but if i was in charge i would be willing to take that risk to get something (light rail) that can possibly give 100X that amount (300k) in returns. the reason why i would do it is because i have a vision for Hampton Roads and eventually expand that to all of VA. just like many risk takers in the past (Ben Franklin, Henry Ford, Dwight Eisenhower) i'll take a risk too.

Brian Kirwin said...

Shooter, that's all I ask. Offer a way to pay for the funding you want increased, and you have.

You are right, that I'd sooner propose a spending cut for it, but the point is, if you're serious, you don't just advocate more spending without any idea how to allocate the revenue.

Otherwise, you're just posting on a blog.

Even I have ideas of where to cut $300,000 of ongoing spending (another mistake in the post - comparing a one time purchase with ongoing annual funding), but it's not my proposal.

thesh00ter said...

oh ok, well thanks

by the way i enjoy seeing u, Mrs. Paige and i think it's the gentlemen from VP on What Matters. very good input

Brian Kirwin said...

Thanks. It's a fun show.

thesh00ter said...

it really is. i want to see Henry, Michael, and Russell go on there and take on Moss, Greenmun, and some other VBTAer ; )

William Bailey said...

Simply billing for ambualce rides will raise 6-8 million per year that currently isn't collected by VB. In every city in Tidewater they bill for this service bebut VB continues to allow the insurance companies to bill the citizens in every insurance policy and keep all the funds the city's taxpayers could use to offset taxes or fund things like light rail.

So Henry, you could use the 6-8 million as your funding if you choose to respond. Then Brian will go on to something else... LOL