Mayor recognizes the high cost of driving

Thursday, August 20, 2009

From a post on the Madison mayor's blog:

There was an "Eggs & Issues" forum this morning on the proposed Regional Transit Authority. It was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and it featured Kathleen Falk, Verona Mayor Jon Hochkammer and myself. It was a very good discussion, but we got the inevitable question from an audience member who I guess listens to too much talk radio. He went on for awhile about how expensive transit is and how drivers pay their own way.

He's wrong and here are the facts. The general City of Madison taxpayer support for Madison Metro's bus routes weighs in at about $8 million a year. The riders themselves pay over $11 million more and the rest of Metro's budget comes from state and federal sources. Compare that to what we do for drivers. The total Traffic Engineering budget is $8 million and this year we're spending $32 million on general fund support for building and rebuilding streets.

So when you add it all up we're spending a minimum of about $40 million on things directly related to driving while we spend about $8 million on Metro transit. Moreover, none of the costs attributable to driving are paid for directly by drivers. Instead those costs are borne entirely by general taxpayers, mostly property tax payers, while a fifth of the bus budget comes from actual users.