To the Editor:
We need a coordinated transportation system. On the day of the climate strike, I write to urge our officials to become part of the solution by placing a priority on public transportation that is reliable, convenient, inexpensive, and green. The bottom line has to be transportation, not revenue. When the VTA found itself with a budget shortfall, why did they cut routes? The entire purpose of the VTA is transportation, not management, real estate, or contracting. The last thing cut should be services. Salaries of managers, office rents, and outside contracts need to be reduced before reducing the core mission.
This responsibility does not just fall on the VTA, but on the Steamship Authority as well. They should help to fund the VTA and coordinate travel with them. Instead, they use their increased revenue to erect office palaces that are aesthetically and socially offensive to the towns where they are built.
The SSA should also be planning an electric fleet, reducing the size of their ferries, and limiting summer auto traffic to levels agreed to by the islands they serve. Parking should be free or very low-cost. Auto rates for trips originating off-Island should be very high, but with a functioning bus fleet, tourists could have a positive experience. The SSA is wrong to pass the expense of creating a safe and modern management system to consumers. The governors chose to support an inept system that told them to go on a building spree. Instead, they should be looking at scaling back building costs, and reducing future fuel costs by investing in a 21st century electric-powered fleet.