SAN ANTONIO -- VIA's CFOfailed to mentionhundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue during a public presentationbefore VIA Metropolitan Transit's Board of Trustees in December.
VIA's board unanimously approved the fare increases, which take effect March 1, 2013.
During the presentation at VIA's headquarters, Chief Financial Officer Steven Lange explained that 17 percent of VIA's $176 million budget comes from fare collection, while the other 83 percent comes from a half-cent local sales tax.
We made several attempts to interview Lange for this story, but VIA declined on his behalf each time.
When asked to clarify its budget presentation in December, a VIAspokesperson said the transit authority's two streams of revenue are fare collection and the sales tax.
We filed a Freedom of Information Act Request with VIA, which then provided documents showing it made $640,000 off advertising in 2012.
Under VIA's new fare system, which will charge riders $1.20 per ride, $640,000 would pay for more than 500,000 people to ride the bus.
Since October 2008, when VIA entered into an advertising agreement with Clear ChannelCommunications, the transit authority has made more than $2.5 million off advertising.
VIA ads are displayed at some bus stops, on the sides of buses and in some cases as a wrap that covers entire buses.
Last week, we again approached VIA and asked a spokesperson to clarify its December public budget presentation.
When asked where advertising revenue fit into the budget, a VIA spokesperson said it is accounted for under the category of other.
But other was not mentioned as a category during the public presentation in December.