Roanoke City Council challenger Brandon Bushnell said current bus service continues only due to public pressure, as the city has found ways in the past to cut services like allowing city students to ride for free.
“Roanoke City Council continues to balance its books on the backs of those Roanokers who can least afford it,” Bushnell said. “They are closing the door on our children’s future by allowing the meals tax to expire, and they continue to minimally fund bus service for those Roanokers who depend on public transportation for life’s basics, like getting to work or the grocery store.”
Bushnell said that extending the service is vital because it’s one of the few direct actions council can take to stimulate the economy and provide more opportunities for work.
“This directly affects jobs,” Bushnell said. “The reality is that not everyone in Roanoke has the luxury of owning a car. There are a number of people who rely solely on bus service to get to work. And we can open the number of jobs available for to someone who relies on the bus by extending service hours and adding Sunday service.”
Bushnell said he has a plan to fund the current bus service and expand it to include later hours and Sundays.
Brandon’s Plan to Extend Valley Metro Bus Service:
Make the Meals Tax Permanent
City schools will lose $4.7 million per year beginning June 30 because current council members have promised to allow the prepared meals tax to expire. To make up that shortfall, council has taken money from other vital services.
Reverse the City’s Current Funding Formula
The city’s new funding formula compensates for the loss of the meals tax but leaves other services, like transportation, scrambling for money. By making the meals tax permanent and returning to a more balanced funding formula, we can keep vital services in place for those who need them most.
Increase Bus Fares
Stovall told Council members that with a modest increase in fare, along with additional fares expected due to the increase in service, it would only take $500,000 to extend hours and add Sunday service.
“While that’s a lot of money,” Bushnell said, “when you put it in the context of spending $4.7 million on Elmwood Park renovations, or the $600,000 the city paid to consultants to study the park improvements, it’s not difficult to find that kind of money if your priorities are aligned with citizens’ interests.”
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Election 2012, Elections, Politics, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: budget, city_council, Election 2012, Elections, Independent, Roanoke City Public Schools, transportation