Dan Holter threatened me, he threatened the city, he threatened tax payers. When he ran the monopoly transit operator he extorted money from the City. He insisted that he owned our public transportation system and that we didn’t have the right to put out operations for competitive bids. He was always wrong.
Now it’s over. We now celebrate total, unmitigated, complete success in the dispute. The city was 100% correct about everything. Rochester City Lines was 100% wrong about everything. Turns out that “extortion” is a pretty accurate term for when someone threatens to shut down a transportation system unless we give more money.
Just because we won everything, it does not mean damage was not done. Rochester City Lines may some day again operate our public transportation system, but they will do it through winning a fair competition not through frivolous litigation.
Here is a cumulative list of expense paid in litigation with Rochester City Lines. These costs may still tick up slightly but in total, $1,767,424.23 was spent fighting the lawsuits. Of that total, the City of Rochester paid $905,185.89. If it seems like $900k could be better spent I would agree. It is very sad that Rochester City Lines caused us to waste this much public tax money on a lawsuit they couldn’t win.
Despite the enormous cost of litigation, this is still resulting in cost savings for the City of Rochester. In fact we have more that recouped the costs and have been able to invest ongoing savings into our transit route expansion. Here is just how much we are saving with First Transit relative to Rochester City Lines.
Over the first 5 years of our relationship with First Transit (2012-2016) we saved taxpayers $1,899,269.28 relative to what we would have paid Rochester City Lines. This is a net savings to taxpayers of almost $1 million even with the litigation costs factored. As our transportation system has grown so has the savings. I would estimate that with 2017 & 2018 factored in our cumulative savings now exceed $2 million net of litigation.
The next step for the city and other cities is to get changes made to state laws so that the taxpayers can recoup legal fees from those who wish to run up ridiculous legal costs. Dan Holter and Rochester City Lines owe me, the Rochester City Council, City of Rochester staff, and taxpayers an apology. I don’t expect that apology is coming. But justice did come…
Elections have consequences. Because the City had the courage to stand up to Dan Holter and Rochester City Lines we have an expanding public transportation system in part achieved through millions of dollars in savings.