Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Budget Cuts on the Way, but Bikes can be the Thrifty Choice

Late yesterday the City announced more cuts. The human cost of layoffs is demoralizing and sad. Maybe there are labor inefficiencies to be found. But I bet not. Cuts are to the bone and affect real service levels.
On Tuesday, Salem City Manager Linda Norris announced mid-year cuts in departments funded through the City’s General Fund. Salem is targeting spending reductions of at least $4 million to begin in the current fiscal year. Revenues for the current year are expected to be $1.1 million below budgeted levels and revenue projections for the next five years have been scaled back due to the prolonged economic slowdown.

Preliminary estimates for mid-year adjustments include eliminating between 22 to 28 positions over the next five months. About half of the positions are currently filled, but others have been held vacant in anticipation of possible staffing reductions....

Planned reductions include police non-sworn staffing levels; parks maintenance; aquatics; planning services and projects; code enforcement; urban development program support; central services; staff training and overtime; and purchases of supplies and services.
But you know, there is actually one area where we all can do more with less: Even AAA says having an extra car is expensive!

Bike transport just makes sense. It's a great choice for people who want to be thrifty.

And for the City, just as for a household, supporting drive-alone car trips is a revenue leak - much more than an order of magnitude more costly than supporting bike trips! The cost of a 30 year wham-pow! wish-list of improvements for people on foot and on bike is about the same as the pared-down four year bond for roads!

The subsidy in roadway infrastructure and maintenance and in city planning for drive-alone car transport is a significant part of the problem.

Supporting lower cost transport should be part of the solution - part of the solution for the City, and part of solution for people who want to make thrifty choices. As a side benefit, with fewer drive-alone car trips, existing roadways will have less congestion for essential freight movement. Not to mention reduced health care costs and greenhouse gases.

If the City truly is a Sustainable City, why aren't we focused on thrifty and sustainable transportation?

Let know you'd like to see thrift and efficiency in transportation! Go by bike!

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