It is difficult for taxpayers to have a happy anything, Thanksgiving Day, or otherwise, when we are being forced to subsidize bankrupt boondoggle public sector transit with our gas taxes.

Seniors like my 101-year-old Mom, who’s quarantined with Covid, cannot afford to pay for gas, food, utilities, etc., and also pay taxes the highest levels ever suffered by taxpayers in this once-Golden State. VTA and the other bankrupt boondoggles, Caltrain, ACE Train, SMART Train, Amtrak, BART, etc., are only kept running by ever-increasing taxpayers’ subsidies. 

We have a situation in California where unelected “directors” run the transit agencies, hemorrhaging our money down insolvent black holes, next to be joined by Supermassive Black Hole Bullet Train. It ain’t transportation. It’s wealth redistribution. 

Transportation is UPRR. Taxis. Shuttles. Uber and Lyft. All of which have their fares/rates cover their expenses/costs, unlike the transit boondoggles. So, we have a double standard in transport funding. Motorists pay 102% of our costs. Transit systems’ riders pay only about 1% of their fully amortized costs. Then they cover up their insolvency levels by reporting financials not based on GAAP accounting rules, just like Enron did, and Bernie Madoff. 

It’s been worsening since Don and Perry were VTA’s chairs. For whose benefit? Not taxpayers, that’s for sure. You know who’s making money transporting empty bus and rail seats? Guess. 

But we have nobody among our local elected representatives who are willing to call it like it is. I don’t see any signs of that changing. So, taxpayers, especially seniors, suffer on, fleeing the state if they can. 

For more than 30 years I’ve offered you, and your predecessors detailed evidence for your paper’s first Pulitzer Prize. Why don’t you use it? The taxpayers would bless you for it if you did. Caveat viator. Another unhappy Thanksgiving. 

Joseph P. Thompson, Esq.

Past-President, 1999-2001, 2006, Gilroy-Morgan Hill Bar Assn. Past-Chair, Legislation Committee

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  1. Great letter. I’ve noticed that both buses and the VTA Light Rail cars have tinted windows. I assume they’ve done this so those of us that use our cars, and pay outrageous gas taxes (highest in the nation), won’t notice that ridership has taken a nosedive.

    It would probably be cheaper for the VTA to buy a new SUV for every one of its regular riders.

    It’s axiomatic that government run transportation projects are 1. over budget, 2. behind schedule, and 3. fail to carry promised ridership.

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