Broken promises

Published 10:06 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

We’re elated that federal and state officials have chosen one of our own organizations as a beneficiary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The Choanoke Public Transportation Authority (CPTA) has long provided a vital service to the citizens of Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton counties. They, like many other local public service providers, have learned the value of stretching each and every penny of the state and federal money that annually comes their way.

While we’re certain that CPTA officials will put its $441,095 share of AARA funds to good use, perhaps they should consider using a smidgen of that money on learning the finer points of being a team player.

It was learned at Monday’s meeting of the Northampton County Board of Commissioners that CPTA is seeking a rate hike for the transportation services they provide.

We do not have a problem with an organization attempting to offset rising operational expenses by working out a deal to cover those costs or seeking other revenue streams. But continually asking for increases in the wake of razor-thin county budgets as well as in the face of neutral or even falling operational costs is a problem.

Since 2005, CPTA has increased its unit (per trip) price by $3.09. On the heels of gas prices surging to nearly $4 a gallon late last year, CPTA hiked the unit fee by $1.69. They promised the rate would be lowered once the fuel crisis was over.

Gas prices are now back at 2006 levels – around $2.70 per gallon, but yet CPTA on Monday asked for another rate increase, now seeking $8.69 per trip.

Our best advice to CPTA is not to make promises you can’t keep.