The city did a citizen survey of all the cities services that left out an evaluation of Wave Transit. Only 800 people of 2400 randomly selected households participated. I still don’t know who they payed to do a “report” that found sunday ridership to be a lot lower than any other day of the week. Did they really need to do research to figure that one out? It’s Sunday. The fact that sunday ridership is lower does not mean that the 91 people who ride every hour on Sunday can fork out the cash for a taxi instead.
In February the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre opposing provisions in a proposed Congressional bill that “would have a profoundly negative impact on Wave Transit.” The 1,000-page bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Act, proposed a major change to the funding of mass transit. For more than two decades, a portion of federal gasoline tax revenue has been used for mass transit, according to The Washington Post. Currently, 2.86 cents from the 18.2-cents-per-gallon tax supports mass transit.
America does not have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem. We have depended on the federal gas tax for transportation revenue and people are using less gas so there is a revenue shortfall. Throughout the spring the lobby for the Keystone XL synthetic crude oil pipeline has been busy buying our representatives. Many representatives don’t need to be bought as much as others because they are already invested in the oil industry.
These politicians are trying to add a mandate to the Transportation bill that would implement the construction of this pipeline and , yes, it is mainly republicans. Not to be partisan, it is just a fact. This has caused a stall in the passing of a transportation bill that provides funding to States and Municipalities for Mass Transit.
In Wilmington, NC our city council has responded with a property tax increase of 3 cents on every $100 valuation. Effectively what has happened is corporations get their tax rebates on tens of billion in profits while individual property owners get a tax increase. The city is fully funding Wave Transit and not cutting their budget, yet Wave Transit managers are claiming fuel prices and low ridership on Sundays are a drain on their budget. After the city council meeting on June 19th occupiers met a disabled Wave Transit worker who told us that upper management is lining its own pockets with the cities money while burdening its workers with layoffs and benefit cuts.
We are protesting in support of our public transit and against any implementation of for-profit services subsidized with taxpayer money or cuts. Austerity measures are a result of the fact that corporate profiteers receive tax rebates that eliminate their tax burden while they continue to layoff more workers than they hire.