Get your own set of wheels

Regional Transit’s proposed service cuts could leave some folks with their wheels spinning.

Regional Transit’s proposed service cuts could leave some folks with their wheels spinning.

Photo By Eyragon eidam

On Monday night, Sacramento Regional Transit heard public testimony regarding proposed cuts to close a $25 million budget deficit caused by revenue shortfalls and state funding cuts.

Opponents to any sort of reductions arrived in force, most via Paratransit and light rail, and packed into several rooms as a steady stream of speakers voiced their concerns to the RT board. The general atmosphere was one of disappointment and distress, especially for those who are unable to drive and must rely on the services to get to jobs or hospital appointments.

Although Paratransit is a service that is contracted out due to a “zero refusal” rule within the Americans With Disabilities Act, RT’s current financial situation threatens many of those routes and stops.

Other speakers talked of the hardship cuts would cause. Many spoke of the possibility of job loss should their routes be cut from the schedule, while others explained that this was their only means of transportation due to severe disabilities.

RT officials noted that the revenue loss was due to a “perfect storm” caused by a decline in sales-tax income as well as increased ridership needs due to fuel prices and unemployment. Over the next two years, the deficit is expected to ring in around $25 million.

Agency staff has proposed nine possible scenarios to close the budget gap. Conservatively, the system could save $2.3 million by cutting a relatively low number of vehicle hours and employee positions. On the more extreme side of the equation, the cuts in vehicle hours and positions would save $18.7 million and dramatically impact the system’s ability to complete its mission.

Right now, 60 jobs are at stake and 300 “warn” notices have been issued to workers throughout the ranks of the Regional Transit. Service reductions are waiting in the wings pending further action by the board, which will consider final recommendations from RT staff on March 22. Any cuts would take effect June 20, 2010.

Compiled from Snog.
This report is by SN&R editorial intern Eyragon Eidam.