Another question about RFTA |

Another question about RFTA

Dear Editor:Having returned from vacation yesterday, I only just learned that Dan Blankenship was nice enough to take the time to respond (letters, Oct. 1) to an ad run by Common Sense Alliance (CSA) last week. If its any consolation to Dan, who was writing this letter on my own time from home in order to avoid violating campaign finance rules, CSA is not planning to make any recommendation to voters regarding the upcoming vote on RFTAs valleywide proposal to raise sales taxes. Consequently, there are no campaign finance rules to violate during this informational effort, and Dan can fire away from his office anytime hed like. We would appreciate his continued participation, and assume that the RFTA board will not have a problem with his doing so while on the clock.Dan took issue with a statistic which was indeed sloppy, and future ads will incorporate his correction. As he pointed out, CSA has been sharing a wealth of statistical information about RFTA, and we have no expectation that we will be able to perform that task without an occasional glitch. In this case, I had started out writing about the fact that 2007 RFTA operating and maintenance (O&M) expenses were 2.35 times what they were in 1997. When I switched to the use of percentages in order to do some comparisons with population and ridership figures, I neglected to subtract the first one from the 2.35 to get to Dans corrected 130 percent increase figure. (Excuse me if I dont bother to track down the other 5 percent difference in our figures.)Still, I cant help but think that Dan missed the central point. If he would like to verify the method we used to estimate that population in the RFTA service area increased by 38 percent between 1997 and 2007, he can simply log in to and ask. Im fairly certain he has no problem verifying that RFTA ridership increased by 21 percent during the same period, as we received those figures from him. The point in sharing these relationships is to suggest that the law of diminishing returns should be taken into account by everyone, including RFTA.If O&M expenses have increased 6.2 times faster than ridership, is that a really good return, about right, or have we already passed the point of any rational proportion; and why? Its just a question, but one that seems like it needs to be asked.Dan?Jeffrey EvansBasalt

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