Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — "i didn't know CATS was on the verge of shutting down," says CATS bus rider Walter Anderson. Walter Anderson uses the CATS bus system to get to his job working surveillance. He's angry that if no money is found CATS will go out of business by the middle of next year, "Something has to be done because the people, the people can only do so much and a voice that's as voiceless as the people. Somebody needs to say something," says Anderson.
CATS CEO Brian Marshall says the company is looking at places to cut spending to help avoid bankruptcy, but Marshall says what CATS needs most is money, "The real resolution for the system's comfort is some kind of dedicated funding source. Again, when you look at our peers, all of our peers have some sort of dedicated funding."
This would most likely come in the form of a tax that Marshall estimates would cost households about $50 or $60 annually. He says the money will give a much needed boost to Baton Rouge's economy, "If we're able to expand the system what we can do is decrease our dependence and our dollars spent on roadwork, about 50 times more is spent on roadwork than on our transit system and create some jobs. Now companies can come to Baton Rouge and know their employees can get to work."
Councilwoman Tara Wicker says if that money isn't found the consequences could be tragic,"We're fighting crime issues now. If you have a city that can't take of their basic needs you better believe that crime and other negative things will increase it in this city unfortunately."
But for now bus riders say their way of life is up in the air,"It's crazy. It's crazy." says Anderson