The Main Stream

Aug 4, 2010 8:43 AM

Sun Tran, RTA first topics at today's City Council meeting

TUCSON - Wednesday morning, Tucson City Council will discuss both Sun Tran and the Regional Transportation Authority, RTA. The Sun Tran union, Teamsters Local 104, has blamed the city for the current strike, saying council should agree to a proposed transfer of Sun Tran to the RTA. At this time, dozens of Teamsters await outside council chambers to speak out at city council this morning.

Currently, the city runs the Sun Tran bus system. The RTA deals with expansion of that system to other parts of the county. RTA also provides funding for increased frequency of vans, shuttles and busses.

The RTA says having control of Sun Tran could save the city and tax payers cash.

"We've done a very detailed financial analysis that shows over the next five years we can operate the system and we can operate it in the black," RTA's planning director, Andy Gunning, said.

So how would change things for Tucson?

The city would still have to put in a $32 million subsidy each year, which is a couple million dollars less than what the city pays right now. Sounds like a deal.

But some City Council members worry, the $32 million will not be a constant figure.

"The RTA wants us to continue providing money into the RTA for transit and those payments are going to go up," Ward 1 City Council Member Regina Romero said.

Romero also says transferring Sun Tran to the RTA could cause the city to lose most of its voice when it comes to public transportation.

"It's not about just, here you go, there's the transit system," Romero said. "It's about how how the routes are going to be negotiated."

City Council starts a study session at the council chambers at 10 am and could vote on something this morning. In order for a transfer to happen, a long process is involved, including a vote from the RTA board.

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