Some council members want a GRTC task force

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The Richmond City Council may put the GRTC under the microscope. Two council members want to create a special task force to study the city's transportation agency.

It's been a turbulent year for the company; The GRTC has eliminated bus routes, will increase fares and it has layed off 20 employees. The CEO says cuts to funding created a $5-million shortfall. There was also a very public fatal crash in downtown Richmond. And the agency moved into a new multi-million dollar building, paid for with federal funds.

Now the Richmond City Council may take a closer look at it all.

"I want us to look at innovative solutions to take this into the 20 30 40 years. I also want to look at this from an efficiency stand point. Can we do it better? Can we do it more cost effective?" said Richmond City Council member Bruce Tyler.

Council members Bruce Tyler and Doug Conner are proposing a special GRTC task force.

"I think council needs to clear the air on this issue and figure out once and for all can it be done better. Or is it being done well enough," said Conner.

If approved, the City Council would appoint 9 members to make recommendations about possible policies and legislation.

"We can't continue to operate this system on a 1940's platform. We've got to come up innovative solutions on how to take this forward," said Tyler.

The GRTC says it welcomes the extra attention.

"I think it's exciting. It's a great opportunity," said CEO John Lewis.

He says the GRTC is the only system of this size in the country that doesn't have a sustainable revenue source.

"Let's be bold with the opportunity. Let's look at how we can make this system better. How we can make it sustainable and how we can make it long lasting. Anything other than that I think is a disservice," said Lewis.

If approved by the City Council, the task force would have one year to meet and issue recommendations.

Council will vote on whether to create this task force in September.

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