Happy Friday everyone! I first want to thank everyone who came out to my shows this past weekend in Nashville and Macon. Its always a pleasure to work with Brandon Brains (hip-hop artist from Nashville, look him up) and help him start his Money Over Beer tour with Kid Dead.
It also was awesome to have a few recent Mercer University graduates who now reside in Nashville come out to the show. One of the things cool about Macon is when you make friends here, you usually make them for life.
Now on to the latest episode of What Really Grinds My Gears. Lets address the budget cuts on the table for the Macon Transit Authority. When I first overheard talk about this, I decided to ignore it in a that cant happen, right? kind of way. Thats when I got wind that about $250,000 in budget cuts were a possibility.
As a current and usually frustrated customer of the service, I made numerous attempts to speak to employees just to get more insight and possibly opinions about the matter. A trend Ive noticed in Macon since the consolidation is that everyone is afraid to speak out about questions of this magnitude because of job security and because they just simply dont know.
One evening when I tried to ask an MTA employee her take on the cuts, she replied, Talk to Mayor Reichert. (To credit the mayors office, after I tweeted about this incident, they did reach out to me and offered to give any information they had. Unfortunately, I didnt have time because of my weekend tour.)
Ive spoken to many customers down at Terminal Station, and while most are outraged and disappointed, some werent surprised at all.
For those who dont know what the budget cuts would include, they would boil down to the bus not running on Saturdays at all (they already dont run on Sundays) and would stop running at 8 p.m. on weekdays. MTA riders who work near Eisenhower Parkway would seem to be affected the most, considering the Macon Mall schedule is so spread out and doesnt run all day as it is. Our elderly residents who rely on the bus for things as simple as just leaving the house would be heavily affected as well.
Rabbi Larry Schlesinger was quoted on television saying its a rob Peter to pay Paul sort of situation. My question is, why does Peter have to be MTA?
The money being needed for something else is just a part of the game, I suppose, but why not cut funding from somewhere else? Some would suggest cutting government salaries. Having friends who work for the government, I know firsthand that this already has been happening. What about museum funding? While our museums are important, it doesnt seem that they are bringing in the revenue from tourism that has been promised the past few years. I also have a friend who works in this field, and shes usually working projects alone that require a team of six or more.
If the issue is dumping money into a system that isnt working, then I would think the focus would be on making it better than just dwindling it down to nothing. Too many of our residents rely on public transportation for this to happen. Lets just hope our local government is aware of this also.
Floco Torres is an artist/songwriter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.