Archive for Sunday, September 14, 2008

Uplifting T tale

September 14, 2008


To the editor:

I was able to buy a car precisely because I could take the Lawrence transit system to work. Three years ago my wife and I moved to Lawrence for her schooling. We had no car, I had no job contacts and not even $100 required to open up a bank account. Over the next six months we both used the T, her to get to school and me to get to a variety of low-wage temporary jobs throughout Lawrence. Taking cabs at $10 one way to go to class or to go to a $6 an hour job was not an option. Eventually I worked my way up the job ladder to be able to afford a car; then my wife and I stopped using the T.

The T is not designed to replace the convenience of a car, but the T is designed to be a viable choice for people who can't drive for temporary or permanent financial or health reasons, and it provides a realistic option for people to get to jobs, go shopping and get to medical appointments. Kansas cities as small as Garden City (Finney County Transit) and Hutchinson (RCAT) have realized that providing regular bus service is a better use of taxpayer dollars than relying solely on paratransit service.

Lawrence residents will be asked to vote on funding transit in November.

I urge them to vote "yes" on Questions 2 and 3.

Tom Worker-Braddock,


seriouscat 9 years, 6 months ago

Bozo says:"This city commission could have funded the T without raising the sales tax, but they chose not to. Given the option of killing the T, or keeping it with a modest tax increase, I'll vote "Yes" to the T. I'll also vote for city commissioners next April who won't force voters to make such decisions."Yup. Pretty much sums it up.

alm77 9 years, 6 months ago

voting "yes" x 2 in this household. This story illustrates who needs it. We've used it in similar situations, were glad to have it, and would use it again if need be.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 6 months ago

"And if you're not paying home owner's insurance premiums, you probably are not paying property taxes and therefore, "Even if someone rents, the house or apartment is assessed property taxes, and I can guarantee you landlords include that expense (along with insurance premiums) when calculating the rent, so your argument has no merit.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 6 months ago

Tom,I can't apologize for the mean comments that some anti-T posters posted since only they can do that. I'm free to say that I'm disgusted with their disregard for any civility and am also sure that their moms wiped their butts, fed them, clothed them, and would be ashamed that despite all of these gifts they were given to give them a good start in life, that they chose to be so selfish in their comments about your story.Thanks for your personal story about why the T is such an important and good investment, and for signing your name to it. Reasonable folks all across the community will read it and appreciate it.

Brent Garner 9 years, 6 months ago

Voting no on all tax increases! I pay too much already. I have to live within my means. Government should have to live within their means. Just because government has the ability to tax, doesn't mean that they should tax. It seems that the immediate response from government when they "need" money for some item is to "raise taxes". Try that with your employer when you need more money to pay for, say, gasoline! See how far that approach gets you with the boss. Perhaps it is time we showed government that we, the people, are the boss!

XEPCT 9 years, 6 months ago

I ride the T also. Don't be scared of the T. Vote YES.

KsTwister 9 years, 6 months ago

The size of the T service should not be placed on the backs of overpaying taxpayers. No,no,no,no,no. If it cannot be financially feasible then --No.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 6 months ago

Some form of public transportation is needed..... many options are available to replace the black hole (T). We simply can't afford to have fixed-route transit in a town as small as Lawrence. Lawrence is like the rest of us... broke.

pace 9 years, 6 months ago

Vote YES twice, then vote the commissioners out that couldn't put the ballot question up in a sensible straight forward way. More people who can get to their jobs or school on the T leaves a parking place for you. More people who can get to the doctors and dentists means the emergency room will take care of the emergency you have faster. The more people who can go to school or get training will be better employees for you. The next time your teenager wants your car to go to the movie, hand him/her the bus schedule. Ride the bus one time with your teenager, then buy them a pass.

Jim Phillips 9 years, 6 months ago

mtoplikar-Gee, I don't know. Maybe the police and fire departments being here might reduce the premiums you pay for home owner's insurance--assuming you pay those insurance premiums.And if you're not paying home owner's insurance premiums, you probably are not paying property taxes and therefore, not paying for other peoples' kids being in school. Can you guarantee that you will never use the police or fire and medical services? I can pretty much guarantee I'll never use the T.

Matt Toplikar 9 years, 6 months ago

To those who think that people who use the T. are freeloaders, let me ask you this...Is someone who's house is burning down a freeloader when the fire department shows up-- my house isn't burning so why should I have to pay for it?What about people who's kids use the public schools? I don't have kids-- why should I have to pay for it? Sounds like a bunch of freeloadin' brats to me.While I'm thinking about it, why should I have to pay for the police? I've never had a break-in or a loved one murdered-- in fact the whole judicial system seems like a waste of MY money.I just don't understand this logic at all. If you don't want to pay for the "freeloading" T riders to use the bus, then don't ask them to pay for the roads and streetlights and roundabouts that people who have cars use. We live in a society where we all depend on each other for various things-- so get over it or get out.

sjschlag 9 years, 6 months ago

There is no doubt that Lawrence needs a public transportation system. The current system as it stands fails to meet those needs, and it needs to be re-designed to be more efficient and effective for those who need/use it. The two sales taxes should be enough to keep the service going and improve the service so it will be easier to use.

lawrencian 9 years, 6 months ago

We should definitely be asking the city commission what they are doing with the mil levy that is specifically for transit, since they have defunded the 'T' for 2009. Every year since the 'T's inception, the mil levy has been whittled away more and more, until this year they have taken it away completely.

Jim Phillips 9 years, 6 months ago

matchbox81--Touche'. A factor I did not consider. Match point to you.

denak 9 years, 6 months ago

All these people who post on here and accuse those who use the T as moochers, or drunks, or lazy, I would love to see how you fair without a car or any form of transportation for a week or two. It is so easy for you to pass judgement on others when you are comfortable.As for the "T," I think it is great! When I first moved here 12 years ago, I had a preschool age child, a job, and college. My only mode of transportation was the "T" and the KU bus system. It was hard to do all three with a young child but, wtihout the T, I wouldn't have been able to do any of it.My son is now 16 years old. He is visually impaired. The "T" allows him independence. There are some people who aren't able to drive for a myriad of reasons and none of them have to do with being lazy or drunks. Without the "T" they would not be able to get to their jobs.I would love to see how helpless some of you would feel if you had no car and no "T" to get around. And before you say I would take a taxi or the dollar ride, good luck with that if you need to get somewhere within a hour or have more than one stop. You are either going to have to miss your appointment or pay out the rear to do it.Dena

mmmskyscraper 9 years, 6 months ago

Thanks, Tom. You've just illustrated one of the reasons I'll vote "Yes."

Tom McCune 9 years, 6 months ago

Tom:Your poverty is not my problem. You paid for less than 10% of the cost of those rides and the taxpayers paid for 90% of the costs. Please. Go be indigent somewhere else. All of these nanny-state programs are just magents for losers.Vote no on all tax increases. The government doesn't have a revenue problem. It has a distribution problem and a management problem.

matchbox81 9 years, 6 months ago

"Your poverty is not my problem", except when people lose their jobs because they can't get to them and thus use even more of taxpayer dollars on welfare, except when employers can't find low-wage employees with reliable transportation and thus have to move shop and take their business out of Lawrence and off the tax rolls, except when the city has to spend 3 or 4 times more per rider for paratransit service, even though that rider's minor disability would have allowed them to ride a bus with a regular schedule. It goes on and on...we don't live in a vacume here. If you don't want the benefits of living in a comfortable city, go to someplace where they can brag about having the lowest taxes in the country, and then notice that there's also no sidewalks, there's potholes in the streets, no streetlights, horrible schools, and no library. But yea, low taxes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 6 months ago

This city commission could have funded the T without raising the sales tax, but they chose not to. Given the option of killing the T, or keeping it with a modest tax increase, I'll vote "Yes" to the T. I'll also vote for city commissioners next April who won't force voters to make such decisions.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 6 months ago

STRS,did you not read my comment yesterday?if question 2 fails on the november, one heck of a lot of federal money goes away that is now funding the paratransit. and this LTE writer is correct, per ride total cost for fixed-route ride is far cheaper than total cost of one ride on the para. Vote yes, 2 and 3. 3 allows for the route/schedule fixes. as noted above, right now the system is very poorly designed, thus the low ridership does not reflect lack of need, lack of value, for transit. instead, it shows how the fixed-route right now discourages ridership, as in the "random times" ref above. if they just put the buses on an every-hour or every thirty minutes schedule so you could know when that bus goes by every hour, what a difference that one change would make. so, oh wise and insightful Boozo, just how could the city fund the T without a sales tax increase? you gonna cut the PD? you gonna cut the street repair ... riiiiiight.

matchbox81 9 years, 6 months ago

Guardian, just pointing out that everyone who lives in Lawrence pays property taxes - landlords include the property tax in the rent.

BobSmith 9 years, 6 months ago

Two votes for the "T" from this house. The idea above suggesting that we "put the buses on an every-hour or every thirty minutes schedule" is interesting - I assume that there's a reason that isn't being done. Anyone know why?

bearded_gnome 9 years, 6 months ago

In my earlier comments, I did neglect to note Tom, that your letter was nicely written and conveys your facts very well. thank you. Vote Yes, 2 and 3! vote no on 2, and paratransit shrivvels up. fixed-route gone. Hawk cannot be trusted, his facts are completely wrong on the T: for example, the "transit levee" city property tax, has been swallowed up by the general fund for two years, now looking into the third; and 0 (zero) funds are currently allocated in that budget for the T, fixed-route or para. the sales tax can't be swallowed into the general fund like the property tax levee.

doc1 9 years, 6 months ago

Vote NO. This story is most likely a hoax thought up to garner support for the idiots supporting the T.

Lindsey Buscher 9 years, 6 months ago

I know Tom and his wife. I did not know this about Tom though.Perfect example of the hard-working American pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps story. Tom and his wife are in the opposite of poverty as one poster suggested (Tom has a masters degree and his wife is pursuing a PhD). They are good, tax-paying Lawrence citizens, and his letter comes right out and says that their situation was only temporary.I think what we are mostly angry about (and rightfully so) is that the commission has put taxpayers in a tough spot--raise sales tax or kill the T, you decide?Well whatever it takes, the T must survive, so Vore Yes. Thank you for your story, Tom.

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