Following the Madison Transit and Parking Commission's recent vote against his proposal to raise cash bus fares 50 cents, to $2, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz sent out a memo listing steps Metro must now take, such as identifying service cuts.
One bus advocate, writing on a listserv, joked about a to-do item the mayor left out: "Prepare an enemies list."
Before the vote, Cieslewicz had threatened not to reappoint members who opposed his fare increase. Seven of the commission's nine members voted against it. So is Cieslewicz going to give them the ax?
"I might, but I don't want to dwell on that," says the mayor. "I'd rather not go there if I don't have to. The main task is to get Metro's budget in balance."
Without the fare increase, Metro faces a budget deficit of $682,000 in 2009. Cieslewicz wants the commission to reconsider its decision at its Jan. 13 meeting. If members don't approve a fare increase then, Cieslewicz will appeal the decision to the Common Council.
Cieslewicz insists the city council has the ultimate authority over Metro's budget, not the commission. And the council voted last fall not to give Metro any more money, instead supporting a fare increase. Says Cieslewicz, "The commission really should have accepted that decision."