GRTC Task Force:
The GRTC may be under new scrutiny this year. Two city council members, (Bruce Tyler of District 1/Doug Conner from the 9th) want to create a special GRTC Task Force. Here’s a link to the actual ordinance under consideration. Under the proposal, the council would appoint 9 voting members to recommend new legislation, plans, policies and programs that promote efficient mass transit in the city. The task force would also look at working with interested private organizations to improve the service and the efficiency of the GRTC.
Bruce Tyler came up with the idea and told me, “Personally, I believe the GRTC could have done a better job of managing their business. At the same time, I’ve gotten a lot of folks saying they’re doing a great job. I feel like the only way to get to the truth in the matter is to have a task force.
Doug Conner is a co-patron of the ordinance and said, “I thought i t was a great idea, because, once and for all, we can look into the GRTC and figure out the pros and cons.”
Tyler (who has been a constant critic of the agency) pointed out that the City Council gives the GRTC about 11 million dollars a year. He said, “I want us to look at innovative solutions to take th is into the next 20, 30, 40 years. I also want us to look at this from an efficiency standpoint. We can do it better. We can do it more cost-effective.”
I caught up with GRTC Ceo John Lewis. He tells me that he welcomes the extra attention. He said, “I’m excited and pleased that the council is willing to put together a comprehensive task force. Hopefully, with the expertise needed, to really take a comprehensive look and how we operate public transit in the region.” Lewis says his agency was already vetted by the federal government, state government, and by a panel of peers. He says national experts named the GRTC the leading transit system in the country in 2008. He says, “We’re the only system in the country of our size that does not have a sustainable revenue source.” He says of the task force, “let’s be bold with the opportunity. let’s look at how we can make this system better; how we can make it sustainable; how we can make it long-lasting. Anything else would be a disservice.”
The full city council has to approve the creation of this task force. It could take up the issue this September. If created, this task force would have one year to meet and come up with recommendations.
Extras: And, just wanted to say thanks to this local blogger for the shout-out. 🙂