Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 41
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for May 4, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Have you been following the articles on the proposed Warrensburg bus system? There's a group called the Old Drum Transportation Committee working on implementing such a system here. Some people seem to believe that having a bus service will help low income people, international students and senior citizens get to work, shopping and recreation. Apparently, our two taxi companies and OATS service can't handle the demand.

Well, maybe that's so. Then I saw the financial figures they're throwing out. First, they have to raise $18,000 so the government will buy them two $45,000 vans. Then, they're estimating that additional 3-year costs will be about $80,000 a year. Here's the kicker - they estimate that income from fares paid by riders will only be $10,000 per year. Let me get this straight - they want to start a service that's going to cost $8 for every $1 in revenue earned? Sounds like one of those hi-tech 'dot-com' companies.

Seriously, they would have to come up with money to make up this deficit. Where will the money come from? Mr., Mrs. & Ms. Taxpayer, of course. The state will give 'grants' to the bus service, so citizens from other areas of the state can further subsidize Warrensburg's economy. Local businesses and industries will also be 'hit up' for donations, which likely will provide tax benefits that further transfer to taxpayers the cost of the bus service.

All the matching funds will do is get us pregnant. Then guess what? Later we'll have to give birth to a tax subsidy. The business people and industry donations (if they come) will dry up after the initial ecstasy of the shining new 2-bus fleet wears off, and we'll be voting on a sales tax to keep this 'valuable service' afloat.

Our local taxi companies have to make a profit to stay in operation; is it fair to introduce taxpayer-subsidized competition? As ABC News commentator John Stossel would say, "Give me a break!"

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