Letter to the Editor: Asleep at the wheel

Submitted by: Charles Bergson – City of Williams, Mayor

Last year I wrote a guest editorial, “Up in Smoke” addressing the excesses of the Colusa County Transportation Commission’s transit system. This transit system averages less than 4 passengers per nineteen-passenger van and costs the County over one million dollars annually. The article commented that these vans operate “practically empty, practically all the time”.

Over the past few years the sight of these empty vans have drawn attention from the public and Williams City officials questioning this transit operation. The question; Is there a more efficient way to provide transit services in the County?

These questions have elicited no response or change from the Transportation Commission. The Commission continues to operate this inefficient transit service, wasting an estimated half a million dollars a year of public funds.

This past May the Commission received and accepted the State required audit of its transit system. Contained in this audit were the following recommendations;

■ That the Commission form “a committee for the purpose of providing advice on productivity improvements“, (Recommendation No. 2, Performance Audit of Colusa County Local Transportation Commission for the three years ended June 30, 2017 by Smith & Newell.),

■ That the Commission adopt rules and regulations for…..”determination of the cost effectiveness of the proposed community transit services”, (Recommendation No. 3, ibid), and

■ That the Commission “is not in compliance with three of the requirements of the Public Utilities Code” (Conclusion 2, ibid).

Surprise! – The same questions about the transit operation posed by the public and the City for years are now documented in a State audit with recommendations to the Commission to correct them. In light of this audit’s recommendation on productivity and effectiveness and the audit’s finding the Commission out of compliance, the Commission took no action, they simply accepted and filed the audit.

At the Commission’s next meeting was the matter of transit connections to Sacramento. (Of the 14 counties surrounding Sacramento, all of them have connections to Sacramento except Colusa County.) The Commission passed a resolution stating that there are no unmet transit needs in the County, including connecting to Sacramento. Yet several minutes later the Commission recommended supporting a regional bus that will connect Colusa County to Sacramento.

At this meeting, the Commission simultaneously stated “there is no need to connect to Sacramento” and “there is a need to connect to Sacramento”.

These Commission actions – maintaining an inefficient transit system, ignoring the State audit and its recommendations, making conflicting decisions – are indicative of a Commission that does not understand its responsibilities and a Commission that does not carry out it duties for the best of the public.

As an agency responsible for the wheels that move our public and the wheels that can connect Colusa County to the world, this Commission appears to be “asleep at the wheel”.

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