An airport bus barn is the latest brainstorming session from Pendleton City Hall. They say the need for a warehouse arose to house a collection of vehicles that the city administration considered essential to the operation of our public transportation system, vehicles that were paid for with various government grants that they consider “free” money .
The vehicles are currently “stored” in the town hall or at the local taxi company, a total of 10 vehicles. The city outsources its subsidized services to the local taxi company. These services include senior / disabled taxi tickets and general public taxis, as well as fixed and alternate bus routes. This is complemented by the Clearview Disability Resource Center, which does not provide emergency medical transportation for people on the Oregon Health Plan.
City Hall likes to compare our services to other cities, so let’s take a look at Hermiston. Your services mirror ours pretty much. The difference is in how they are managed.
All of their public transportation is contracted by third parties. Kayak Public Transit, operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, offers their regular bus service. On-demand taxi service for everyone, including the elderly, the disabled, and the commute to work program is provided by Hermiston Transportation LLC, the local taxi company.
This is where the similarities end. Hermiston has no public transportation – a bus barn is not required. Pendleton, on the other hand, is planning to build a bus barn at the airport. How inconvenient is that? With office space, I expect they’ll hire some sort of manager so the long-term costs are sure to exceed the planned $ 90,000 to build. These costs include $ 72,000 of “free money” provided by the state “transit tax”. This is a new tax levied by employers and passed on to you in the form of increased retail prices.
The town hall should ask itself: Do we really need these 10 vehicles that have to be stored? If CTUIR is the city’s largest employer, why not return the favor by using Kayak’s expertise in local transport? Why keep wasting tax dollars on new facilities when we can’t get what we have?
How about investing in projects that will improve our economic future? Why are you not sticking to the goals just announced by our city council? With projects like this bus barn fiasco, city management is already losing its focus.
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