Clearly, this is a disappointing decision, though not unexpected. The board was uncomfortable with the idea of engaging in extensive deficit spending. They were also hesitant to slash a large number of jobs or institute big service cuts. Instead, they chose a middle path with a little deficit spending (1.9 million dollars), layoffs limited to about 20 positions, and smaller service reductions.
The Board seemingly believes that these efforts to tighten the agency's belt will bolster their argument for funding reform at the Statehouse in the coming legislative session. Personally, I am not convinced that they needed to make the service cuts, and I believe they could have moved forward with deficit spending on the order of 2.9 million dollars. This belief is at least partially vindicated by the repeated calls of Senator John Tassoni at the meeting for the board to come and ask for supplemental funding for RIPTA during the special session in October.
For what it's worth, here is the statement I submitted to the board on behalf of Sierra Club RI: