With all of the hullabaloo over the Presidential election and US Senate and House races, voters in and around Albuquerque may not be aware that they could face higher taxes if they and their fellow voters approve a tax increase for the RailRunner and “other transit projects.” Recently, the New Mexico Independent did a story on the vote complete with quotes on the issue from yours truly.
My basic arguments from the article follow:
Even if gas hits $5 or $6 a gallon, Gessing said, not enough people will use the Rail Runner to reduce congestion on I-25 or warrant the train’s high operating cost. “We’d be much better off maximizing bus service,” he said, by running more buses and taking riders directly to the places they want to go, such as Albuquerque’s West Side, rather than to fixed stations.
Though his group will fight the tax proposal, Gessing said he isn’t sure whether it will pass or fail. “People don’t like to raise taxes, especially in tough economic times. But there are a lot of people who can’t get enough mass transit,” he said. “There’s something that warms the heart of a lot of people to see a bus on the street, even if they don’t use it and it’s only partially full.”