I am a property owner who has just written the Juneau Assembly asking them to tax me more, and I hope my fellow readers will do the same. I read in Friday's Juneau Empire that some of the cuts anticipated in the next CBJ budget are the delay of half-hour bus service until 11 a.m. and charging "people with disabilities and senior citizens $12 for monthly bus passes and single cash fare." These two groups currently ride free.
Since the city is in a budget crunch, I am not asking for the complete restoration of half-hour bus service. However, I think bus riders need to insist that half hour service continue to start at 7 a.m., even if it ends before 5 p.m. An earlier start is vital to the many people who use Capital Transit to get to work in the mornings. It's also important to many high school and middle school students who depend on the bus system to get to school in the morning. A worker who missed a bus could get fired for being late the extra half hour these cuts would impose.
People should also strongly urge the Assembly to continue to let people with disabilities and senior citizens ride free. Raising fares on these groups will significantly reduce their mobility and quality of life as they are the least able to pay. Rather the making the most vulnerable pay, we should raise the regular bus fare. We could also raise the price of tokens, which was untouched in the last fare increase.
Since the property tax rate is still lower than it was when I bought my home in April 2000, I'd rather pay a little more than leave people stuck at the bus stop. I hope that at least some of my fellow readers will agree and write their own letters to the Assembly.