It’s fantastic news for taxpayers and for fiscal sanity in the Grand Rapids area. Last night the expensive and redundant Rapid “Silver Line” tax increase request went down in flames. The overall vote total was 52% against and 48% in favor, but when looking at the six cities in the Rapid service district, we see that a majority of the cities rejected the request:
Grand Rapids – 53% yes, 47% no
East Grand Rapids – 64% yes, 36% no
Grandville – 36% yes, 64% no
Kentwood – 46% yes, 54% no
Walker – 32% yes, 68% no
Wyoming – 36% yes, 64% no
As you can see, Walker, Wyoming, Kentwood, and Grandville all soundly rejected the tax increase request and even Grand Rapids was closer than expected.
The pro-Silver Line people are predictably dour. The comments of Peter Varga, executive director of the ITP (Rapid), sum up their attitude perfectly. He said it was rejected simply because voters didn’t understand the request. Right. Voters heard from this blog as well as other groups (including our friends at KCFFR) who exposed the bad plan of the Silver Line. The Rapid folks tried their hardest to limit the information available on this request, but active citizens exposed the Rapid and let voters know the facts. This web site alone received thousands of visits from people searching for more information.
The message was clear:
- This new Silver Line was a duplicate of already-existing bus services
- The Silver Line would cost tens of millions of dollars (just for buses)
- The Silver Line would have cut off traffic on Division by shutting down lanes and dramatically increasing congestion
- The Silver Line was slower than existing bus services (see our previous posts on the issue)
- The claims of spurred development and “new jobs” were based on speculation and conjecture
In summary, bravo for the voters of the four cities who rejected this request. Make no mistake, they will be back, asking for more. Their next request will be for more than $100 million for an even more inefficient light rail line.