Please also check out Brenda Konkel's latest blog posting on how the
proposed fare hike has very little to do with increased fuel costs.  You
can find it here:

       Sarah Gaskell, ASLA, APBP 
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-----Original Message-----
From: Michael D. Barrett [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: [Bikies] Board of Estimates Meeting on Operating
Budget.Meeting Tuesday, 4:30 PM

As usual, Mike N. is dead on:

At 11:19 AM +0000 10/14/08, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
>Bicyclists in Madison should join with the bus advocates in fighting 
>the mayor's plans to increase bus fares to $2 per ride.  A 33% hike per

>ride in bus fares will lead to more air pollution and motor vehicle 
>congested street travel since there will be some bus users who might 
>switch to driving rather than pay $4 a day to ride the bus ($4 round 

And I'd like to link his thoughts on the budget to the recent
announcement about the 'We Are All Mechanics' classes at MATC:

At 11:24 AM -0500 10/9/08, India Rose Viola wrote:
>Biking in the winter in Madison is fun for those of us who feel 
>confident on a bike, and who have access to good equipment.  A lot of 
>cyclists do NOT feel safe biking on snow and ice, especially with so 
>many cars swerving around.  Winter cycling in a northern climate is NOT

>for everyone, nor should it be.  I pride myself on being a winter 
>cyclist, but there were plenty of days last year that I took the bus to

>work.  Many of the bike paths are not plowed immediately and have 
>stretches that get neglected.  Winter cycling is a great option for 
>some, and I am happy to help promote it, but let's not fool ourselves 
>that it is ever going to attract more than a minority of committed 
>Let's push public transit so that those of us who ARE on bikes in the 
>winter have fewer cars to contend with on the roads.

Basically, the idea is that the alt-trans modes are mutually reinforcing
of one another. The UW Transportation Services' commuter data show a
similar link between the alts, and virtually none between the alts & the
deathmobile. That's yet another, major, reason why it is critical that
we bring the pressure to bear on, yes, even the 'good' alders wrt better
transportation & land use planning.

Folks, even if you can't make it to the budget meetings, there is always
email. There is the phone. There are face-to-face meetings. 
Please, contact your alders. The only thing they respond to more readily
than fear of The Highwayman is pressure from their constituents. The
reason the highwaymen have the upper hand right now is that the elected
leaders' constituents won't typically bring the pressure to bear.

But we do know that it can work. Last time the mayor tried to kill bus
ridership with a massive bus fare increase and service cuts, enough
people did make the call that fares were kept (semi-) reasonable, routes
were saved, etc.

Here are some potential talking points:


1) Limit road spending increases to inflation & population growth.

Context: City leaders should keep in mind that the latest census data
show that Madison is growing at less than 1% per year; yet the mayor's
budget jacks up road spending by 65%. Of total road spending, the mayor
estimates that 17% is for highway expansion. In a population growth
environment of only 1% and car use in decline, these highway expansion
numbers are extreme.

2) Use the funds generated from these savings to:

-Keep bus fares level to boost farebox revenues. Madison is already at
the high end of peer city bus systems. For instance, Ann Arbor transit
system's cash fare is $1.00 ( 
They understand that low fares mean more ridership, and ultimately, more
farebox revenue for the system. At $1.50 cash fare, Madison Metro is
already extremely high for a system of its size.

Context: Econ 101 applies to buses. We should not risk losing ridership
gains with further exorbitant fare increases. We should instead
encourage higher farebox revenues through higher ridership levels that
lower fares bring. This is consistent with generally accepted elasticity
(supply & demand) models of transit ridership vs. 
fare rates. More information can be found here: ; and

3) Dedicate a portion of the savings (20% max.) to "property tax relief"
to build a coalition in support of more reasonable land use and
transportation in this city.

Context: This would also be a good test as to whether Jed Sanborn, Mark
Clear, Lauren Cnare, Judy Compton & the rest really really are the
fiscal conservatives they claim to be, or if they are just Superhighway
Socialists from Dick Cheney's Energy Welfare State.*


This communication needs to be done *soon*. I would say within the next
week. Waiting until November will definitely be too late. I'm not saying
not to testify then, I'm just saying the groundwork needs to be laid
before then.

Have fun!

*Sorry, Matt, I had to use it!

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