Anchorage city fees, including bus fares, won't go up next year after all

rshinohara@adn.comDecember 19, 2012 

— Bus riders, rest easy.

The Anchorage Assembly voted Tuesday night to take back $2.5 million in fee increases scheduled to go into effect in January for city services such as People Mover and ambulance rides.

Instead, the city will spend one-time, 2012 tax revenues, initially collected for the Anchorage School District, to keep the fines, fares and fees the same. The district couldn't spend the tax money -- it was replaced by state funds.

Assemblymen Bill Starr and Dick Traini were behind the move to keep city fees level.

When the 2013 city budget was approved in November, it included the fee increases to help overcome a shortfall, and balance revenues with expected expenditures.

Starr said that didn't make sense, since the city anticipates having some leftover money from this year that it could apply to next year.

The fee increases would have hit two areas the hardest. The city expected to increase ambulance charges by $1.5 million and public transportation fares by $660,000. Ambulance rides for basic life support services for city residents would have gone up by $300 a trip, to $700. Adult bus fares were to rise by 25 cents to $2, and AnchorRIDES fares for seniors and people with disabilities would have gone up $1, to $4. The fee increases are now cancelled.

Reach Rosemary Shinohara at rshinohara@adn.com or 257-4340.

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