As most are aware, local public transit is a vital government service, similar to defense, emergency, and public school services. Transit entities such as the Riverside Transit Agency and Omnitrans rely on a mix of various funding sources from the local level all the way to the federal government in order to provide us with the means to get around. These taxpayer resources pay for both transportation infrastructure and operations, a service that benefits the general public.
Recently, public transportation budgets have tightened due to continued spending toward special interest groups and the failure to police government expenses. Transportation funding has long been an issue despite the fact that Californians are paying the highest gas taxes in the country. While its true that funding reductions can be attributed toward the Great Recession, both the state and the feds continue to displace such resources into programs which too often benefit special interests and not the general public. Local agencies have therefore had to come up with other ways to pay for our transportation infrastructure and operations: service reductions, fare increases, delayed capital improvement projects, and mandatory tolls and transponders for private carpools to use the high occupancy lanes.
The Transit Coalition coordinates with other transportation advocacy organizations to fight for and protect critical state funding and to make sure such resources actually make it to the streets and rails as it should.