Letters to the Editor

Funding options

October 19, 2008


To the editor:

Our family considers public transportation to be an essential service along with water, streets, police and firefighters, and as such we support (reluctantly) the sales taxes proposed to that end. It is unfortunate that our esteemed city leaders provide the seriously regressive sales tax as a take-it-or-leave-it option.

It would be much more fitting and realistic to support the public transport through taxes and fees on private transportation. To that end, ALL private vehicles using local streets should contribute. First of all, all student vehicles should be registered locally, thereby adding to the personal tax base. (Some students choose to vote here but have their cars registered "at home," not locally!)

Secondly, all private vehicles should be required to display a city sticker or tag. Whether a flat fee is collected or a graduated one based on weight or value is not the point. Another option would be a local gasoline tax.

I realize taxes are not popular, but why should one pay a tax on groceries to support the T? In fact, basic grocery staples should not be taxed at all! Soft drinks, prepared food, dry cereal and the like are NOT staples.

Lawrence Bodle,


dano 6 years, 3 months ago

Bodie seems to think Lawrence drivers have been getting a free ride all these years. Neither her proposal nor the city's address the simple fact that the T averages one passenger per bus every 6 minutes. No sticker or other gimmick changes the reality that Lawrencians are not interested in riding busses to nowhere, although they will gladly throw money at them.

appleaday 6 years, 3 months ago

OK, Madmike: I absolutely refuse to pay for any of the roads that I don't drive on. Do you honestly think that everything should be a pay as you go option? Some things are considered essential services that may not be used by each person individually but are a necessary part of the common good. I have never had children but the value of an educated electorate is essential for a democracy so I have never had an issue with the taxes that go for education. There are many things that my tax dollars are spent on that I don't use but I can see their benefit for society as a whole. People who can't afford private transportation need public transit to get to places like. . .work. . .so that they can be more productive members of society.

Chris Ogle 6 years, 3 months ago

I am a senior on a fixed income. Every day I try to live within my means, and every day it gets tougher. NO new taxes!!!!

Zype 6 years, 3 months ago

"And the city should fine him anyway for that crap in the back of the place, old campers and cars that don't run."A little nosy, aren't we?What anyone chooses to keep in their backyard is none of your business.

notajayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

"It would be much more fitting and realistic to support the public transport through taxes and fees on private transportation. To that end, ALL private vehicles using local streets should contribute."Realistic? Not very. Fitting? In your dreams. It's hardly "fitting" to require everyone that specifically does not use the mT pay for it. As for realistic, you do realize that the more people that the more people you could attract to use the mT, the smaller the revenue pool would be? See a small problem with that, Larry?

sjschlag 6 years, 3 months ago

"who should support and pay for the mT? Those who use it! It's 95% subsidized: it should be less than 50% subsidized. How can that be accomplished? By voting NO and forcing a redesign."It's true. Rides on the T Lift and the T on average are 95% subsidized. A one way ride on the fixed route bus costs the city about $5 (a cost which drops when more people ride the bus) with a $1 fare. That's about a 85% subsidy, which is probably a bit more than similarly sized public transit systems. A one way ride on the T Lift Paratransit costs about $20, with a $2 fare. You can do the math on that. I'm all for fares contributing more into public transit funding- maybe a fare increase is in order to $1.50 or $1.25 like what Kansas City charges, but we need to re-design the system so that more people ride it first.Which brings me to your last point. No matter how much you want to wish for it, the magical urban planning and design fairies will not magically re-design the "T" for free. A "No" vote is a vote to end the bus system. A "No" vote sends Lawrence to the back of the line for Federal grants which provide over half of the money needed to run the "T". A "No"vote means all of our buses, including the KU Park and Ride buses, will be sold off and sent to other public transit agencies. I'd like to say that while I agree that a sales tax to fund the "T" isn't a good idea, this sticker idea proposed in the LTE is almost worse. If fewer people register their cars, which is likely with another gas crisis, and start using the "T", will the fares be enough to cover the funding shortfalls? The same logic could be applied to downtown parking- if fewer people park there and ride the bus instead, who will pay for it then? While sales taxes aren't the best idea, this mechanism will ensure that public transit has the money it needs to operate. Please, vote "YES" for questions 2 and 3 on Nov. 4th

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