The first goal of the People’s Downtown Master Plan 2008 was expanding public transportation.
Residents still want and need more bus service to provide real and affordable access to employment, educational opportunities, essential shopping and medical appointments. Three thousand of them do not own cars.
With their taxes, they subsidize the streets for residents who drive. Fairness means additional investment by the cities of Lewiston and Auburn to expand bus service so that it truly meets public transportation needs as well.
Use of the bus has doubled in the past 13 years to 230,000 rides per year. Still, Lewiston and Auburn governments spend only about $5 per person per year to support this key community resource. That’s only one-third as much as Bangor and less than Old Orchard Beach.
Auburn and Lewiston city councils have an opportunity to courageously move the bus system to the next level of accessibility and utility, appropriate for a community on the move economically with development on its mind.
Option C of the recommendations to the L-A Transit Committee is the best way to achieve this progress: Saturday bus service when most people need to shop; extended hours into early morning and evenings to accommodate work and school schedules; service to New Auburn, Little Canada, and industrial sites.
With less than a one-half percent increase in their municipal budgets, our communities will bring the most of the federal tax dollars back to L-A for this essential service.
We need Option C.
Peg Hoffman, Auburn