Rapid Silver Line Back From the Dead: It’s Still a Bad Deal

The Kent County Taxpayers Alliance once again expresses its disapproval of the proposed Silver Line bus “rapid” transit line. KCTA most recently opposed and was instrumental in the defeat of the Silver Line millage request in 2009. KCTA also opposed the previous ITP millage request in 2007 and ran a “This Pig Stinks” ad on the side of a Rapid bus.

The organization is the local taxpayers’ rights group that professes to fight for good governance and low taxes. They believe that private enterprise have better and more efficient solutions to solving local problems than using the public purse.

Spokesman Dr. Eric Larson stated a number of reasons for KCTA’s opposition to any effort to resurrect the Silver Line plan. “It is very hard to imagine that Mr. Varga and The Rapid are once again entertaining any thoughts about trying to build the Silver Line. Although the new proposal request is projected to cost less than the plan revealed a year ago, it is still a serious tax hike request from The Rapid. It calls for $56 million over 5 years to build a bus line on Division that is already being serviced by The Rapid’s buses. It will close down half the road during peak traffic hours which will cause widespread congestion and affect parking for a lot of the businesses along the route. Worse yet, this so-called “rapid” service will average only 16 mph!

“Not only is this a poorly-hatched plan for what it sets out to do, but it extracts tax money from the residents of East Grand Rapids, Walker, and Grandville and they will not receive any of the benefits. It is simply inconceivable that during a large economic downturn the ITP would consider taking more than $10 million out of the pockets of local taxpayers instead of allowing those citizens to use the money to care for their families and support local businesses.”

The group is prepared to mount an opposition to the proposed tax request should it be placed on the ballot this year or next. KCTA helped defeat the last Silver Line millage request in 2009 using grassroots support and a shoe-string budget. The supporters of the Silver Line spent in excess of $70,000 of special interest money in an attempt to pass the tax increase, yet it failed at the polls in four of the six cities in the ITP area (Walker, Wyoming, Kentwood, and Grandville).

For more information, we encourage readers to visit KCFFR’s “ITP Watch” project web site, whose mission is to “Shine the Light” on the ITP, also known as The Rapid bus system.