Citizens of Alger County, Altran needs your help! The House has released its version of the budget and it is NOT a good sign for public transit agencies.
The proposed House budget for public transportation local operations recommends funding levels of 2005. We are already having trouble meeting the demand for services and this large a cut back to levels of 15 years ago will jeopardize necessary transportation for many residents and services for businesses who rely on public.
Impact of HB 4246 on OPT Programs
Analysis Provided by MDOT
Local Bus Operating/Incentive-Based Transit Formula: The reduction of Local Bus Operating (LBO) from the Executive Budget, along with the “redirection” of $28.6M to the new Incentive line item will have a significant negative impact on most of the transit agencies in the state. The incentive funds can only be distributed to those agencies who recover more than 17% of their eligible expenses via “farebox revenue” This provision essentially penalizes those communities who choose to provide other sources of local funds (transit millage, general funds, etc.) to support their transit agency. Most choose to provide other local funds to keep fares low, so rides are more attainable by low- or fixed-income citizens. This will result in a reduction in services for those areas with some agencies shutting operations down completely. Agencies may attempt to increase fares to recover lost funds, which will of course have the largest negative impact of the most vulnerable citizens and likely lead to people losing jobs and forgoing medical care. The incentive funds also cause a great deal of instability – as more agencies become eligible for these funds, the percent for each will go down.
Specialized Service (Seniors/Disabled): This line item was reduced by 70%, $2.44M below the statutorily required minimum in Act 51. These funds are used for services designed primarily for seniors and persons with disabilities. A 70% reduction in services equates to a loss of 348,000 trips for seniors and people with disabilities to access healthcare and jobs. This loss of funding will likely result in some specialized providers ending their transportation services altogether which could result in some counties having no form of public transportation available, so the impact may be much greater than this estimate. This disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable citizens in our state.
Transportation to Work: The $581,000 reduction from this line item will directly impact services for low-income individuals to access jobs. Without access to jobs they will fall further into poverty and suffer all the associated negative health impacts. This will result in a larger burden on state resources in the long run and a large negative impact on the economic wellbeing of our state. This also negatively impacts businesses in our state who struggle to retain good employees.
Could we trouble you to IMMEDIATELY help us by contacting your State Representative(s) and advise them that this budget would set back public transportation – and your services – by 15 years!
It is absolutely critical that YOU make your phone calls/send emails to your own State House member immediately.
Sara Cambensy – firstname.lastname@example.org
Toll-Free: (888) 429-1377
Ed McBroom – email@example.com
We here at Altran are so grateful for the support and passage of the millage. This loss of funding would be devastating for our community. It should not be the burden of the tax payers to come up with additional funding to maintain transportation services!