Tuesday, April 3, 2007

It Could Be Worse: California Cutting Transit Funding?

Governor Blagojevich has publicly expressed his admiration of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fortunately for public transit advocates in northeastern Illinois our Governor's admiration for his California counterpart is not absolute.

Recent reports from California (here, here and here) indicate that Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed FY 2008 budget has about $1.1 billion in cuts in State funding for public transit. The cuts are expected to hit the Bay Area transit system, the most developed system in California, especially hard. The cuts reduce State operating subsidies for transit by over $400 million, a 70 percent cut, and reduce capital dollars for public transit by $700 million.

California transit advocates are especially steamed at Schwarzenegger's proposed budget because in November 2006 California voters approved a big transportation capital funding package that includes a sizable transit component. A month later, California adopted legislation directed at reducing greenhouse gases. The inconsistency between the Governor's proposed budget cuts for transit and these initiatives was not lost on these advocates.

Governor Blagojevich's proposed FY 2008 capital and operating budgets for public transit show slight increases from the previous year and can hardly be considered generous for transit. However, he looks like Santa Claus compared to Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed $1.1 billion cut in transit funding in California.

No comments: