Changes to CATS to be implemented gradually
POSTED: Monday, April 23, 2012 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 5:20pm
BATON ROUGE,LA(NBC33) — The almost 11 mill tax breathes economic life into a system that was scheduled to run out of money by the beginning of July. Despite its history of financial problems, CATS board member Jared Loftus guarantees the expected almost $12 million this tax could bring in starting in January won't be wasted.
"I understand. Every year CATS has to come back and ask for money. You won't see that moving forward. There are contingencies in place with the tax that we're getting, so we can have a reserve to meet those things like increased fuel charges," says Loftus.
And he says CATS board meetings that are open to the public and a website that tracks CATS progress will both ensure the organization fulfills all its obligations.
"We've got an accountability report card that's been discussed during the campaign. You can find that on our website. That kind of gives you a breakdown of the timeline that people can expect," states Loftus.
What that timeine will show you is that new buses, new bus routes and shorter wait times for CATS passengers aren't coming any time soon.
CATS officials say shortening the wait time for passengers from 75 to 15 minutes is gonna take a couple of years, but there are other changes they'll be implementing almost immediately.
"You will see the G.P.S. that we've been talking about where you can be able to locate the bus on any internet-enabled device. That will hopefully start to happen by the end of the year," says Loftus.
But because voters in Zachary struck down the proposal 79% to 21% CATS officials say beginning in January they may not have access to CATS services at all.
"That's a conversation that's out there that we'll have to have with the mayor of Zachary and with the Metro Council now. You're definitely aren't going to see any expanded service there," says Loftus.