Comments on: AATA: What’s Our Vision? it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Sun, 22 Feb 2009 02:55:02 +0000 Thanks for the great coverage, Dave.

Two years without a permanent executive director–I wonder what impact that’s had on the current consideration of raising rates, possible opportunities with U-M, and the city’s decision to go forward with its predetermined plan to build a new parking structure. (Get used to it–I’ll be dissecting that short-sighted decision from every angle at every opportunity.)

“Annis said the idea was to figure out how to get the cost per service hour down from its current level of $103 per hour to the $77 per hour that Grand Rapids runs its system on.”

I hope the board won’t succumb to such a narrowly specified outcome. A better “idea” would be to identify the reasons for the differences and then consider them in light of the organization’s mission and other factors that might justify continuing to operate with higher hourly service costs.

Annis also failed to make the distinction that cars and bikes, for example, aren’t “public transportation options”, but private ones.

And drop the vision statement? I hope this isn’t a representative example of his performance on the board.

Jim Mogensen is a great example of an engaged citizen. He’s knowledgeable and he offers thoughtful, relevant feedback. I hope the board finds a way to elicit more thoughts from him when they don’t understand his perspective, as opposed to finding justifications for those things he critiques. Nacht very appropriately apologized for the service failure that Mogensen experienced. Maybe Dave just didn’t report it, but I hope Nacht also thanked him for the great suggestions (as I’m sure he did after Mogensen’s earlier comments.)

“What was the barrier then, wondered Nacht.”

I really appreciate when decision-makers ask pertinent, exploratory questions.

With regard to the $6 million from ARRA, I think it’s an interesting coincidence that that matches the amount that was cut from the parking structure proposal. (I warned you.) ARRA funds are limited to covering capital expenditures. Operating expenses have to be covered from other sources. So if AATA can’t cover the costs of more drivers to service the new park-and-ride lots, for example, and the DDA can’t afford to contribute sufficient operating funds, the service might need to be cut even though the lots can be paid for and demand is increasing (as mayor Schreiber noted more generally.)