In the 17JAN2017 Business Meeting of the Kootenai County (North Idaho) Board of Commissioners, the Commissioners voted to commit (but have not yet spent) more money to build a large mass transit center in rural Kootenai County. The specifics are: (Source Kootenai County):
Grant Funding Agreement/ 5339 Small Urban Funding/ Transit
Grants Management Office (GMO) Director Jody Bieze presented the 5339 grant funding agreement between Idaho Transportation Department Public Transportation Office and the County to construct the multi-model transit center in Riverstone. She stated that the Federal share of the grant is $277,809. She stated that these monies would be added to $1,367,279 that is currently banked to complete phase one of the Transit Center. She requested the Board sign the 5339 grant funding agreement and to commit to providing the required $203,605 match to fully fund phase one.
Commissioner Chris Fillios moved to approve 5339 Grant Funding Agreement for Fiscal Year 2018. Commissioner Bob Bingham seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Deputy Clerk Davisson called the roll:
Commissioner Bingham: Aye
Commissioner Fillios: Aye
Chairman Eberlein: Nay
The motion carried.
This new mass transit system will be built off I-90 Exit 11 near the existing Riverstone shopping center. It is where the nice Regal theaters are located. The vote was to contribute over $200,000 of Kootenai County taxpayer funds to build this bus center and receive a significant investment from Uncle Sugar, the federal government. Only staunchly conservative Commissioner Marc Eberlein, District 1 voted against this motion.
Several Kootenai County employees such as Jody Bieze who is both the Grant Management Office and Transit Director and Kimberly Hobson a Program Specialist at the Kootenai County Public Transit Office are advocating strongly for Kootenai County taxpayers to be responsible for this large bus terminal. They like to talk up the positives of getting grants from Uncle Sugar (Federal Transit Administration funding). The truth is under their plan rural Kootenai County is the transit authority, and the Kootenai County taxpayers will be fiscally responsible for any shortfall of money to maintain and secure this transit center. Also Jody and Kimberly are also not being honest with their plans once Kootenai County uses its property tax monies to build an inner-city like public transportation system in the middle of rural North Idaho.
On 15MAR2017, the Kootenai County Grants Management Office / Transit Director Jody Bieze stated to the very liberal / progressive “urban renewal” corporation called Ignite CDA the following: “There will be a building anywhere between 2,000 to 2,500 square feet. There will be administrative offices. There is going to be shelters for bus transfer. We want to encourage Greyhound; we’ve contacted them out of Dallas to see if they would be willing to move their current drop off at a mini-mart and bring it to the Transit Center. We are in discussions with STA (Spokane Transit Authority) and SPOT (Selkirks-Pend Oreille Transit) and other regional transportation systems to create it to be a hub for transfer.”
This means these Kootenai government employees are advocating to connect the inner city of Spokane and Greyhound to rural Kootenai County North Idaho and other cities in North Idaho. These government employees would love to connect this growing mass transit system to the Northern Idaho cities of Dover, Sandpoint, and Ponderay (SPOT) along what is currently in Idaho primarily a free bus ride. Source YouTube video or her comments.
On 14APR2017 in the very liberal CDR Press article Kimberly Hobson, Program Specialist at the Kootenai County Public Transit Office said publicly “…the Greyhound idea simply came up as a possible way to help make the center self-sustainable in the future, but the county has not approached the company. With Spokane transit, there has been early discussion to tie into the system at the State line, but there are no plans now.” Source CDA Press Late Transit Center Opposition Mounts.
In the process of receiving these federal grants Kootenai County Transit System Title VI Service and Fare Equity Analysis Report March 2017 (KCSAFEA) on page 3 paragraph 1 states “while this effort is voluntary and not a requirement, it is intended to be done in accordance with DOT Title VI regulations.” On page 1 paragraph 1 of the same, it stated: “…which is required for larger transit systems and is being voluntarily applied as best practices in Kootenai County Transit System.” This suggests that Kootenai County is now voluntarily following FTA C 4702.1B.
What are some of the things that Uncle Sugar wants in return for his money? One of the pieces of data big pimp Uncle Sugar wants from North Idaho found under FTA C 4702.1B Demographic Ridership and Transit Patterns. They federales want the Kootenai County bus system to collect racial data on its riders and where they live and send that data to the federal government. Per FTA C 4702.1B Chapter IV (6) these reports based upon race are to be submitted to the federal government at least every three years.
The report Kootenai County Transit System Title VI Service and Fare Equity Analysis MAR2017 that Jody appears to advocate for plans to move the Kootenai County bus system which is currently no cost to riders into a fee-based system. That fee-based system will begin to charge people for bus rides, but the system to collect and administer these funds is not being covered. They will not charge enough to pay for the system, no, they plan on charging only $1.50. Yet they plan on growing the cost and the data gathering and tracking of the system significantly. The report Kootenai County Transit System Title VI Service and Fare Equity Analysis MAR2017 clearly says that the cost of setting up all of the computer system or information technology for this scheme is “to be determined.” Why move forward with this, with such a major cost is simply unknown? Why move a questionable small bus system for the benefit of a few rural residents into a major inner city like transit system with ever increasing cost and security concerns? Jody Bieze has already asked for one, possible more new government employees to help manage the system she has advocated we build and we do not currently appear to need.
Thus here is the truth as I understand it. The Kootenai County Grants Management Office / Transit office has been pushing to create a large bus station in the middle of rural Kootenai County. Those same people advocating for this large, expensive bus terminal have also been pushing to tie this larger bus terminal into the Spokane city public transportation system in addition to collocating Greyhound to this new system. All the while Kootenai County has been working to bring more local and federal regulations and information gathering, including race-based reporting of public transportation system and potentially income information to Kootenai County. Kootenai County needs more time to consider if this Transit Center is good for our community. Actually perhaps we should consider if we will continue with this money losing busy system at all. This current Board of County Commissioners have committed (not spent yet) hundreds of thousands of dollars of Kootenai County taxpayer money to this proposed project. The Commissioners who voted for this rat’s nest of big government expansion are Bob Bingham and Chris Fillios.
By supporting this bill, essentially Bob and Chris have said they believe North Idaho wants a large public transportation system tied into inner-city Spokane and inter-State Greyhound. Bob Bingham and Chris Fillios apparently believe Kootenai County residents want to be fiscally on the hook for this growing mass transit system. Bob Bingham and Chris Fillios have voted to grow the size and scope of government. Bob and Chris have said it is ok to collect racial data on who uses what in North Idaho and submit that to the federal government. Bob and Chris have apparently signed off on Idaho collecting income information from residents to see who qualifies for “low cost” bus cards when their report says the current bus system is not close to paying for itself.
Bob Bingham and Chris Fillios have said they “want to hear” from anyone with a problem of bringing inner-city Spokane to Kootenai County on “free” public transportation. Well, You can reach all three at 208.446.1600 their emails are as follows.
Marc Eberlein email@example.com
Chris Fillios firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Bingham email@example.com
Also please call Marc Eberlein and thank him for not supporting this massive growth of government. If you call, here are the issues I believe need more information in growing public mass transit in rural North Idaho.
1. Costs. Why are we spending over $200,000 perhaps as much as $1,300,000 overall for a larger and growing bus system? Is this the most efficient use of limited monies for the benefit of taxpayers in North Idaho? It seems that the County Commissioners have refused to bring in the other elected officials at the County for discussions on this issue.
2. Crime. Mass transit systems do have more crime. The crimes seem to be often non-violent, snatch and grab jewelry and cell phone, breaking into cars parked near the bus stop. Only someone dishonest says that making it easier for inner-City Spokane to get to Kootenai County will not increase crime at all. That is why in the article Seattle bus attack would have ended differently in Spokane by KHQ shows that Spokane has “eight security ambassadors”, 64 contract security specialist and two law enforcement officers dedicated to their mass transit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They have recently added a massive camera network that is now monitored by the gobberment to secure their mass transit system. Who pays for the security of this bus system? Has anyone projected how much that will cost?
3. Community. Liberals and Progressives will find some lost tribe in the middle of nowhere and tell us all how “noble” they are for being backward cannibals or some other insane practice from our barbaric pagan past. If you are a red state rural person and suggest you want to maintain the character of the small town you live in or moved too, they will present your ideas as backward, before going to their favored way to try and shut down debate. Racists! Bigoted against the poor! People have seen what badly planned or operated mass transit have done to communities and do not want the costs, crime and potential negative impact on their property values.
As far as I can see this Riverstone Transit Center and the Kootenai County Transit System and Title VI Service and Fare Equity Analysis Report, March 2017 (KASAFEA) if implemented would transform our North Idaho modest, no charge, Citylink bus system with two or three bus routes which according to the Kootenai County’s own documentation, page 18 table 4 of the KCSAFEA picks up only 15.7 passengers per hour. Into a financially metastasizing, bureaucratically top heavy, racially and income monitoring, federally reporting system with cost, crime, and local community impact concerns.
We asked the Commissioners especially Bob Bingham who we politically supported to reconsider their vote. We ask them to withdraw the monies from this project until more input can be received from other Kootenai County elected officials and the taxpaying public. We ask other conservative organizations to let Bob and others understand our concerns.