The Nov. 23 article "WTA gets clean slate on audits" was rather surprising to me due to the budget revelations. Out of a $25 million operating budget, $2.9 million was provided by the federal government and $19 million from local sales taxes. That leaves $3.1 million was derived from the ridership or 12.4 percent.
I frequently drive past the very nice stations downtown and in the Cordata area as well as Ferndale. We have very nice new looking buses that I am sure we subsidize by non-county government agencies as well. I am very distressed to notice how empty these busses seem to be most of the time. With this poor contribution from the ridership would we be better off providing the service at no charge to the public if it would fill the empty seats? Personally I doubt that this would significantly increase ridership.
With all the whining and teeth gnashing in the county over a potential coal terminal at Cherry Point due to environmental reasons. I find it strange that no one questions the environmental cost of running the large buses around the county with so few people aboard.
Almost all public transportation is subsidised but 87.6 percent by the WTA? Why do we receive a federal subsidy when we borrow 45 percent of the budget at that level of government. With city and county budgets so tight that we need to use budget reserves to pay the bills, it is strange that a serious look is not given to the WTA for multiple reasons. We need to use it or reduce it or raise the fares.