Transit Center Funding Debate

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

June 20, 2005

Most everyone is familiar with the sight of the east end of the downtown mall. The pavilion is set to be finished by mid July, but tonight a question of funding for the transit center came to the forefront of the council's attention.

"I'm concerned that this is coming to us so late in the process that it is not really a choice. It is basically saying, it is over budget and if you don't approve it, it will get worse," said Council Member Kevin Lynch.

The council was asked to approve a $3.8 million extension of funding specifically for the transit center portion of the downtown mall project. Almost the entire amount of funding would come from the state and federal governments with little to no affect on taxpayers. But some Council Members were still upset about the cost overrun.

"I think if we are going to be entrusted to manage a project like this, if we are going to take it on, that we should know in advance that we should build in ten percent a year for however long it takes. We should account for the worst case scenario,"said Council Member Rob Schilling.

Council Member Blake Caravatti disagreed with Lynch and Schilling. In fact, he called it a bout of politics on their behalf bringing these concerns forward.

"The loss of confidence lies not with the City staff or management of this but instead, the ill founded politics," he said.

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