WORTHINGTON, January Yr201 – If you’re a mayor considering instituting a bus system in your city to relieve traffic congestion, you might want to do it for another reason: Public transit can make you a lot of money!
Let’s take our Worthington City (WC) as an example. Its citizens enjoy a tax rate of 6.5% -- which is 28% less than the standard Sim 9%. WC enjoys a host of services, including plenty of well-funded hospitals (plus free clinics), schools, parks etc. Its Treasury takes in $134.1 million a month and has expenses of $128.8 million, for a monthly surplus of $5.3 million.
What makes all those services possible at that price is the bus system. WC public transit takes in $27.6 million a month, with expenses of $0.9 million, for a whopping surplus of $26.7 million. Transit system profits make up almost one-fifth of the city’s revenue. Without that transit money, the tax rate would need to be increased to 7.8% (which is still low by Sim standards) to make up the difference.
Toll plazas can make an even bigger impact. In the town of New Bain, the local government takes in $26.6 million a month, with expenses of $23.5 million, for a surplus of $3.1 million – this despite a residential tax rate of zero, and a miniscule business/industrial tax rate of 2.8%. Part of the reason for these extraordinary figures is New Bain’s small government philosophy – low taxes/fewer services. But most of the reason is the toll plazas present at all but one entrance to/exit from the city. Because almost roughly 70% of New Bain is made up of business districts, and because so many of the workers at these businesses live outside its borders, city fathers decided several years ago to shift more of the cost of running the city from its locals to commuters by charging tolls. They had no idea how profitable that decision would be. Last month, New Bain took in $15.8 million from tolls – 59.4% (!) of the city’s total revenue.
It should be noted that unlike bus fares, which pay for a specific, optional service, tolls are in effect taxes. But they are a tax burden shared by those who work in the city as well as those who live there.
PICTURED: A typical bus stop, this one at Gallery Plaza, the entrance to the National Gallery of Art in Worthington City.