Taxpayers shouldn't foot bill for Citi Bike
by Bob Capano
Apr 10, 2017 | 10142 views | 0 0 comments | 502 502 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, it was announced that the City Council plans to spend $12 million in taxpayer money to finance the expansion of the Citi Bike program. Simply put, this is a bad use of public money and a scheme that does not pass the smell test.

The City Council plan will add 2,000 bikes into areas of the city it does not currently serve and leave the door open to future subsidies to the Citi Bike program. Spending $6,000 per bike is ludicrous.

When the Citi Bike program was originally presented to the city it was pitched as a possible revenue generator. Now the City Council is looking to spend $12 million of our money.

If Citi Bike is successful, it should get a loan; if it is not, it should not be expanding. The bottom line is no taxpayer money should be used to fund this private sector operator.

The monthly financials released by Citi Bike show it generated revenues in excess of $40.5 million in calendar year 2016.

It’s bad enough that Citi Bike docking stations are gobbling up scarce parking spaces in residential neighborhoods and that bike lanes are creating headaches for commuters and small business owners. Now, to add insult to injury, the City Council wants the over-burdened taxpayers of our city to pay for the added inconvenience.

You don’t have to have an MBA from Harvard to understand that the proposed cost of $6,000 per additional bike is crazy.

There should be a moratorium on all Citi Bike expansion until such time that the operators are able to access private sector financing to pay for it. In addition, there needs to be better community notification and input in areas of any planned site for a Citi Bike docking station.

There are simply too many stories of city residents being surprised by a docking station suddenly being installed in front of their home or business.

Mayor bill de Blasio and the City Council need to stop spending our tax dollars like drunken sailors. We have a municipal hospital system bleeding billions of dollars and an ever-growing homeless population.

Perhaps the $12 million would be better spent alleviating human suffering than adding 2,000 bikes to our city streets.

Bob Capano is an adjunct professor of Political Science and a Republican City Council candidate in south Brooklyn.
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