TARC Statement on 19-5 Council Vote to Approve FY 2024 Budget

June 23, 2023

TARC Statement on 19-5 Council Vote to Approve FY 2024 Budget
TARC Executive Director Carrie Butler issued the following statement regarding the 19-5 Louisville Metro Council vote on 6/22 to approve the TARC FY 2024 budget:

TARC wants to thank the Metro Council for making the right decision and approving the FY 2024 TARC budget.

Failing to pass a TARC budget would have been a disaster for the tens of thousands of riders who rely on TARC every day. Without Council approval of the new budget, TARC would have been unable to access the funding that local voters approved for transit service almost 50 years ago. That would have led to suspension of service on July 1 because there would have been no money to pay operators or mechanics, or buy the fuel needed to power TARC vehicles.  

Fortunately, the responsible majority of Councilmembers stepped in and ensured that essential service would continue for the many local residents who rely on TARC daily for their transportation needs.

Critics of TARC service are right that the scheduled August 2023 Service Changes led to this debate. The critics misdiagnose these changes as the problem when they’re actually the symptom.

The real problem is a funding model that hasn’t been updated since 1974 and therefore can’t keep up with rising expenses. Simple math dictates that when expenses rise faster than revenue something has to give. And if no additional revenue for transit is identified in the next few years, by 2026 existing TARC reserves will be exhausted. That will mean that more widespread and serious cuts than the limited reductions proposed this year will be a reality.

TARC hopes very much to avoid reaching that point. But doing so will require an extensive community conversation and decision-making process about what local transit service should look like – and how to pay for it.

TARC plans to start this conversation through an extensive outreach and planning process starting later this year. We know that the Louisville Metro Council will be eager to participate and engage in the difficult but productive community conversations that lie ahead. We look forward to that participation and in continuing to provide the best possible service to local transit riders in the meantime.