Wrong facts were used in transit editorial

March 20, 1998

Your March 6 editorial "Wrong way on mass transit" would be better titled "Wrong facts on mass transit."

Let's blow away this 50 percent fare-box straw man.

First, the 50 percent requirement is only on operating costs -- conductor and driver salaries and overhead. No capital improvements such as new bus and rail car are included.

Second, the Mass Transit Administration counts federal subsidies as fare-box revenue.

Third, new rail and bus lines are not covered.

These so-called "tough restrictions" leave an actual fare-box return of less than 35 percent for the MTA this fiscal year.

The "one or two percent shortage" in fare-box return that you refer to is accomplished by smoke and mirrors.

Frankly, rather than incessant whining to the media, the MTA should be looking at innovative, cost-effective ways to provide service.

Should transit be funded? Yes. Can the current funding system sustain our total transportation needs? No.

Glen Burnie

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Highway Contractors Association.

Robert E. Latham

Glen Burnie

Pub Date: 3/20/98

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