Because of a decrease in revenue from occupational taxes, the Transit Authority of River City – or TARC – is proposing the elimination of about ten routes and cuts to some twenty others. Executive Director Barry Barker says officials tried to select routes that have low ridership or those that have alternate lines. He says those cuts will shore up the two-million dollar projected shortfall in its budget.
TARC announced earlier this month the purchase of 17 new buses, at an expense of over five-million dollars. Barker says that purchase comes from a separate appropriation of government funds.
“Those buses are actually going to enable us to run more economically because they get better fuel economy and simply run better,” says Barker. “So while we may be reducing service, we still need to make sure that the service we put out there is safe, convenient, comfortable, the best job we can do with it.”
He adds they’re using the money they can to support current routes.
“Our utilization of federal, state and local dollars, our first priority is operations,” says Barker, “so that every dollar we can use, whether it be federal, state or local, every dollar that we can use for operating is being used for operating.”
Barker says if approved by the board of directors, the route cuts will take place in mid-February. The board is expected to act on the proposals next month.