Is Mayor Bill de Blasio actually thinking of buying a school-bus company owned by a donor — and assuming its debts? Even he couldn’t be that cynical, could he?
As The Post’s Julia Marsh and Sue Edelman reported last week, the city is moving to take over some private bus companies, possibly including one with ties to a de Blasio donor. An industry insider says Reliant Transportation — whose CEO, Alex Lodde, donated $100,000 to de Blasio’s political slush fund in 2014 — is among the companies under consideration.
City Hall isn’t commenting on Reliant, but if true, it would set a new low for cynicism, even by de Blasio’s standards.
For one thing, as part of any deal, the city would presumably take on the companies’ multimillion-dollar pension liabilities.
Now recall that the mayor came thisclose to getting indicted for his play-to-play shenanigans with donors who got favorable action from the city.
Recall, too, that Reliant was also the only beneficiary of de Blasio’s $42 million grant to school-bus companies. The money was meant to pay employees, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the court demanded reforms that saved the city millions.
In any event, the rationale for taking over any bus company is a mystery. Providing grants and protections to these companies has “undermined the fairness and savings of a competitive procurement, and it’s unclear that public ownership will yield any improvements in service and especially cost,” said Citizens Budget Commission fiscal expert Maria Doulis.
Nor should anyone expect the Department of Education or even a city-managed nonprofit to run busing well, given the DOE’s numerous debacles in creating routes and tracking vehicles over the last few years.
The city is already spending $800,000 for a consultant to explore the takeover idea. That might be the tip of an expensive iceberg.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article