The thing about reality is that it has a way of mucking up plans for the future. The latest dose of uncertain economic times is in the form of transit services and the implications to the City of Sioux Falls and the bottom line regarding finances.
Nothing is certain, but state and local officials are cautious about the probability of losing important federal funds necessary for the operation of the Sioux Area Metro and Paratransit bus services. Steve Metli, former City Director of Planning & Building Services and now chair of the South Eastern Council of Government's Urbanized Development Commission stated, "It will be a huge blow to Sioux Falls if we lose transit funding and paratransit funding. They are both very critical for moving people around town and in particular people who have needs."
What has historically been stable federal money, could now be in jeopardy due to the mood of Congress and it's "cutting the deficit" agenda. Why would we think jurisdictions of 200,000 in population would be saved when the mood in Congress has been to cut education, cut services to the poor, cut unemployment benefits, elderly benefits and basically leave the poor and middle class at the bottom of the economic totem pole.
$2 million in federal subsidies per year and an additional 40 to 50,000 dollars in transportation grant money may be in jeopardy. Although two Senate committees with jurisdiction over transportation issues are chaired by SD Senator Tim Johnson, there is no feeling of confidence that our Democrat Senator can deliver when the Republican held House is hell bent on making cuts in the federal budget.
This is one of those oxymoron situations that collide with reality when local and state governments want and need federal subsidies and Congress wants to reduce the deficit. They don't match up, good folks of Sioux Falls. The point is we are in very uncertain economic times and we are getting ready to vote on the biggest economic decision this city has faced in decades. Reality is beginning to bite and leave marks.