- May 11, 2012
- Reaction score
You realize bonds need to be paid back? Getting financing isn't the issue, it is paying it back without necessarily having to raise taxes/fares on the system/society as a whole. At least to the extent that the whole system isn't improved...Honest question:
What about the state issuing municipal bonds to fund this?
-Administered by the state (so, in the end, it's public money)
-Allows anyone who supports the cause to get involved
-Isn't a mere donation because it will pay a (modest) dividend to the investor
-Could allow for both citizen and institutional investors (e.g., companies who stand to gain from the project can actively support it without the project itself becoming privatized).
If you & TM colleagues agree, it would be great if TM could advance this as a near-term funding model. Muni bonds are nothing new at all, they're issued all the time (e.g., I believe Massport has a history with this)
I think what you kinda are getting at though is the disconnect between funding transit and the existing and future needs of ridership.
If we want a growth model of transit improvements then there does need to be some way to make those improvements directly funded by the increased revenue. As it is now every transit proposal is evaluated as a cost first and then as an return on investment as an afterthought. Often with a wink and a nod that it is really just a construction jobs project and not really going to have a ROI. If we want sustainable transit then growing the system needs to grow the direct revenue with some pay back period that can be forecast reliably.
So back to bonds. If we can go to a toll bridge type of model, where extensions like this proposal can be paid for by an extra charge (time limited to just pay for the capital costs) on blue line riders choosing to get on or off the blue line at the new station, then perhaps that is a model for expansion of the system in general.
The downside is if you create a perverse incentive to neglect other infrastructure in favor of the infrastructure that has the tolls... like the way the Pike used to (still does?) cost way more per mile to maintain than the other non-toll roads.