City told streetcar operating cost will be 4, 5 or "a bajillion" times today’s rough estimate
Tucson taxpayers could wind up paying a $4, $7 or $317 "bajillion" annual operating subsidy for the streetcar according to a city spokesman with a pocket calculator. This amount is more than what city officials were told two years ago by a man in checkerboard slacks with an overcoat full of streetcars, a nervous stammer and a half empty bottle of Colt .45 in a paper sack. The city politely refused the man’s offer to take a sip but bought the vendor's streeetcars.
When the deal was struck back in 2011, the city's projected share of streetcar operations, according to a farmer willing to trade the system for 5 magic beans, was less than $1 million a year through 2525, after which the city would be overrun by zombies whose share would double or triple or quadruple depending on”the weather” and projections that zombies would be frugal.
The city finance department learned the streetcar will cost significantly more to operate when the city was informed last week by the manufacturer that the wheels, engines and horns were classified as “luxury options that will cost extra, but, because the city is such a great customer the window tinting is free”. The city will also receive complimentary toasters which will be donated to the local food bank.
Several community entities that were expected to help pay for the streetcar have been ignoring phone calls from the city, and have taken to walking on opposite sides of the street when the city approaches. One entity refused to spring for lunch, leaving the city to pick up the tab.