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Shutting down Hall buses would save in long run

POSTED: June 27, 2011 1:00 a.m.

Many folks in the county have criticized Hall County commissioners for not looking at the long-term implications and costs of their decisions over the past couple of years.

Commissioner Billy Powell is now looking to the long term. Thank goodness.

Powell wants to seriously consider reducing some costs related to Hall County's participation in public services at the Community Service Center. Let's look at Hall Area Transit, better known as the Red Rabbit.

Hall County pays $640,000 per year. Gainesville probably pays about $1 million per year. Georgia and the U.S. government pay $1.9 million per year. This means that taxpayers pay $3.5 million per year, or $35 million over 10 years.

Given the overhead of government and the interest government pays, governments are collecting about $51 from us in order to pay the $35 million.

Over 10 years, Hall County will pay at least $6.4 million.

Also consider that the Red Rabbit budget will probably grow by 10 percent per year to a cost of $8.5 million per year in 2021.

Also consider that Georgia will probably stop paying its part, since Georgia is broke. And the U.S. government will probably stop paying their part since it is way beyond broke.

A clear and realistic alternative is to spend $490,000 now (as estimated by the head of Hall Area Transit) to close down the Red Rabbit and to avoid payments from Hall County taxpayers over the next 10 years of between $6.4 million and maybe $30 million to $40 million.

A great added benefit would be that the few folks who ride the Red Rabbit, relative to its high cost to taxpayers of $15-20 per passenger per ride, would get a ride with family, friends, churches, other charities or take a taxicab. And, if they take a taxi, the local economy would be stimulated.

Rick Frommer


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