STA Getting $10.6M In Stimulus Money by SRTC Staff | Mar 25, 2009 | Uncategorized | 6 comments Spokane Transit Authority will receive $10.6 million in federal economic stimulus money. So what do they plan to spend it on? New buses, including 10 diesel-electric hybrids. Here’s the story. 6 Comments green libertarian on March 26, 2009 at 4:41 pm How does this infusion affect STA’s overall budget, especially in relation to the fare increase being proposed? slehman on March 26, 2009 at 8:13 pm You know, I’m not sure. Let me check with our ‘STA expert’ (I’m not allowed to reveal my sources, sorry) and get back on that. slehman on March 27, 2009 at 7:55 pm Green Libertarian- The best I could come up with is basically the same thing that’s in the article… that using stimulus money to buy buses will relieve pressure on STA’s operating budget since sales tax collections are declining, and continue to serve the community, since ridership numbers are continuing to grow. And the stimulus money means local money can be spent on operations instead, which our Transit Planner on staff says is always an issue. The “problem” with Federal aid, even the ARRA funds, is that there is plenty of aid for capital (facilities, buses, security systems, etc.) but no or little aid for operations. In other words, transit agencies can buy all the buses they want, but how do they pay for the drivers, fuel and the maintenance…? green libertarian on March 28, 2009 at 8:54 am I know that as part of ramping down their agenda, STA put off the acquisition of new buses (capital expense) and were continuing to run the old 97’s, even ’93’s and such for a time to save cash overall. I understand that operating expenses are hard to come by from the Feds. Capital and operating expenses are both factored into STA’s cash budget, regardless of funding sources. Are they re-instating their previous “replace old buses” capital budget? slehman on March 31, 2009 at 4:01 pm My transit ‘connection’ says he’s not aware that STA is delaying any bus replacements. They did that around the time of I-695 by putting off buying new vehicles for several years. The stimulus funds are being used to purchase “hybrid vehicle replacements” so that frees up local money for operations. They will buy 23 new buses (10 of which are hybrids). Also, according to their Transportation Development Plan,(http://www.spokanetransit.com/aboutsta/documents/2009to2015FinalTDPsoftcopy.pdf if you’re interested) table 3.4, page 3-12, they are surplusing 29 vehicles this year and increasing the fleet size in 2011. green libertarian on March 31, 2009 at 5:08 pm Thanks for that information. I was describing what I thought I read in STA documents, from both the Board, Operations Committee, and CAC in the time period of last summer through the fall, when it was becoming clear that sales tax revenues to STA were going to be dropping significantly. I seem to recall in was in this period that, along with the fare increase, capital expenditures also needed to be decreased, and so the planned purchase of (some) replacement buses in ’09 and ’10 were being reduced (pushed further out) in order to operate the district without going into the red. Submit a Comment Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.