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Texas Tech Student Body President Speaks Out to Lubbock City Council on Proposed Cuts to Citibus Services

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Texas Tech’s student body president has written the Lubbock City Council to inform them of some possible negative effects which a reduction of Citibus services around the city could have on students.

Student Body President Tyler Patton outlined that much of the school’s research is done by over 6,000 graduate students at the University, and around one fourth of those students come from other countries, and have no other means of transportation.

“Reducing Service during peak hours from 30 minutes to every hour would be especially devastating to international students who count on access to the same services as you or I,” Patton said.

After hearing many speakers at a public hearing on the budget Monday night, the Council approved an amendment 5 to 2 by District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson, which would keep buses running on their current schedule, in exchange for a 25 cent fare increase.

Under the original cuts, Citibus service at Texas Tech and around the city on weekends would not change, but weekday service would run every hour, as opposed to the current schedule of every half-hour.

Patton’s full letter to the Council is included below.

Council Members,

I am writing to you today to express the Texas Tech University Student Government Association’s disapproval of the proposed reductions to the Citibus budget and its transportation service.

Texas Tech operations, employees and students generate approximately $1.15 billion per year for Lubbock county, while sustaining more than 13,000 jobs. Our students alone fill more than 2,000 local jobs and contribute approximately $297.5 million in economic output. As Texas Tech continues to reach its goal of enrolling 40,000 students in the year 2020, these figures are expected increase exponentially. Needless to say, Tech students are a driving force for our local economy, as well as our community. Considering these facts, we cannot understand how the city failed to contact our office to discuss the possible impact these proposed reductions would have on our more than 32,000 students.

In 2010 alone, Tech set a record $125.8 million in total research expenditures, which is up from $50 million in 2008. While these investments are impressive, they could not be accomplished without the many dedicated graduate student researchers who devote months to making such research valuable and applicable to our community, state and nation. Of the more than 6,000 graduate students who devote themselves to innovative research, about one fourth of those travel from across the world to attend Tech. Many of these students come to Lubbock without a primary mode of transportation outside of the established campus service paid for by Tech’s student transportation fee. Reducing service during peak hours from 30 minutes to every hour would be especially devastating to international students who count on access to the same services as you or I.

These reductions will set back not only Tech’s student body, but Lubbock’s economically distressed and underserved as well. When I sat on the Transit Advisory Board last year as External Vice President, the city reduced a great deal of funding from the Citibus coffers. At the time, there was talk about shared sacrifice through difficult economic conditions. Unfortunately, I have difficulty discerning who did any sharing other than Citibus. If sharing the sacrifice is the overriding principle guiding this proposal, it is time somebody else did the sharing. Of the $10 million annual Citibus budget, the city’s $1 million contribution accounts for less than a third of the total cost. We feel strongly that reductions to the Citibus budget and its service would be taking even more away from those who often have the least.

With these facts in mind, the Student Government Association strongly encourages the City Council to vote against the proposed Citibus reductions. Thank you for your consideration in this matter. If you have any questions or concerns, you are more than welcome to contact our office.

Best regards,

Tyler Patton
Student Body President
Student Government Association
Texas Tech University
(806) 742-3631

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