Mon, Feb. 17

Letter: State to reduce vehicle fleet: We’ll believe it when we see it

It’s not that we should expect to see meaningful change, but instead should settle for “it’s the thought that counts” in a bid to reduce the state’s vehicle fleet by 10 percent.

For the record, the state owns 10,500 vehicles, not counting the 1,200 used by the state’s three universities.

Too many? Obviously. Abuse of privilege? No doubt about it.

That’s the rub for non-government folks who see public employees provided a car for uses that go well beyond the needs of the job. Such as, driving to and from work every day. Or, taxpayer-provided transportation to lunch every day. How about a quick run to the grocery store after work?

All told, state employees assigned a government car save on the wear and tear of their own vehicles, not to mention the average cost of $1,266 in fuel each year and $819 in maintenance.

It’s not just state employees either. It happens at every level of government from the county and municipalities to schools and fire districts.

In the real world, people drive their own cars to and from work. When required to use their vehicle on the job, they are reimbursed for the mileage, and not always on par with the federal allowance for tax purposes.

In the real world, folks car pool. They use public transit. Some walk to work or ride a bike. They have a keen understanding of the costs to own, insure, operate and maintain a vehicle and they do what they must to budget accordingly.

Oh to have an employer that will provide them with a car.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are a lot of government employees who think it unconscionable that they would ever have to use their own personal vehicle for job purposes. For some, that even includes driving to and from work with a few personal errands in between.

So, yes, we’ll give credit for the thought, and perhaps even the effort, to reduce the state’s vehicle fleet.

But considering the culture of Arizona’s state government that has roughly one vehicle for every three employees on the payroll, we’re not going to hold our breath on actually seeing it happen.

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