Fare warning

Letter to the editor, Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2014

(Written as a member of the Metro San Fernando Valley Service Council.)

It's time to put an end to the myth that Metroís bus service could be better funded by stopping rail construction. The statement by Barbara Lott-Holland, co-chair of the Bus Riders Union, to that effect is yet another repeat of the groupís favorite misstatement ("Bus riders protest proposed transit system fare hikes," February 20).

It has been explained to the Bus Riders Union that funds designated for light rail and other construction projects are not legally allowed to be used for service operations. Most capital projects are funded by specific grants from Sacramento and Washington, and if those projects were to be canceled, Metro would be required to return that money.

Furthermore, project money generated by voter-approved sales taxes cannot be shifted to operations without another ballot measure, because the percentages of capital and operating funds were fixed when the voters approved those sales taxes originally.

Anyone who takes the time to read Metroís annual budget will see that every penny of operations-eligible funding is being spent to operate transit service. Given the legal restrictions, Metro would be foolish to do otherwise. For the Bus Riders Union to continue to claim otherwise damages its credibility.

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