Council put brakes on transit consolidation

By From page A3 | May 24, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A proposal to consolidate SolTrans and Fairfield-Suisun Transit is going nowhere, at least for now.

The Fairfield City Council on Tuesday heard the results of a $45,000 report done by Management Partners on consolidation. The Solano Transportation Authority paid the cost.

No one on the council spoke out in favor of further exploring consolidation with SolTrans. SolTrans got created in 2010 to run bus service in both Benicia and Vallejo.

“A word of caution – the pressure will continue to consolidate,” Mayor Harry Price said as the discussion ended.

Assistant City Manager David White said the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has encouraged transit system consolidations in the Bay Area. The commission has control over transit funding.

Locally, the Solano Transportation Authority has put the possibility of countywide bus service consolidation on the table for several years.

Consolidation could save money on administration, White said. Routes couldn’t be consolidated, as in some parts of the Bay Area, since routes in Fairfield-Suisun and Vallejo-Benicia don’t cross.

“The time has really come to decide what our direction is going to be,” White said.

The City Council sets bus fare rates and decides on routes for Fairfield-Suisun Transit. Should the city consolidate its transit system with SolTrans, decisions would be made by the SolTrans board, which would have Fairfield representatives.

Several City Council members expressed concern about loss of some measure of local control.

“We want to put another layer of bureaucracy between our residents and this transit system?” City Councilwoman Catherine Moy said. “They can come to us right now and if they’re sick of us, they can fire us.”

City Councilwoman Pam Bertani took a similar position.

“The further the decisions are from this dais, the further the decisions are from the community,” Bertani said.

Vice Mayor Rick Vaccaro said any consolidation that results in a loss of jobs for city employees won’t have his support.

Price said transit consolidation is a trend across the nation. But Solano County isn’t a megalopolis, but rather a rural county among the nine Bay Area counties, he said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 3 comments

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  • The MisterMay 24, 2014 - 7:34 am

    What? The FF City Council stood up against Agenda 21?! Good job guys! Agenda 21 is just the opposite of local control. Thank you for standing against Agenda 21.

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  • 4realMay 24, 2014 - 9:47 am

    This discussion has been going on for years & I don't see it ending till they get there way. At least I don't believe any city money was wasted on the report. As usual the consultant went "ching, ching, ching" all the way to the bank. Can't quite figure the next city manager David White's comments. Is he against city control or for it? Is he against these city workers or for them? Against city council or with them? "Wishy Washy" comes to mind.

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  • Disappointed CitizenJune 02, 2014 - 3:37 pm

    I for one am very disappointed in the Mayor's stance on this issue. He seems more concerned about making county politicians happy than he is about doing what is best for the citizens of Fairfield. Consolidation means reduced routes, longer wait times for passengers, and as Councilwoman Moy put it "another layer of bureaucracy between our residents and this transit system". Our council did an excellent job standing up for our city. Shame on our mayor for not backing his own citizens and looking out for his own political gain instead. Maybe if he jumped out of Jim Spering's pocket long enough to take a look around, he would realize that he has citizens who are depending on him to do what is right.

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