TAWC’s Funding ‘Mismatch’

It was a short agenda for the Transit Authority of Warren County’s board of directors on Thursday, but concern was still raised about Gov. Tom Corbett’s transportation plan, which could potentially put the fixed route program out of business.

It was announced that PennDOT Deputy Secretary Toby Fauver has requested a meeting with the executive directors of all rural transit entities to discuss the governor’s proposal, which could see TAWC’s local match requirement to leverage state funding jump from $34,699 to as high as $103,543.

That meeting is set for Tuesday, March 26 in Harrisburg.

“Right now, our local match is $34,699 (and the) proposal is to increase this local match gradually,” Board Chairman Tom Hessley said. “So next year our match would apparently be $36,434. (We’re) already having trouble meeting local, match.”

“This could be an increase of either five or 10 percent depending on what ends up in the Governor’s transportation plan,” according to notes from the meeting agenda. If TAWC can not meet a five percent increase in local match, five percent of its state allocation will be lost as a result. “This will result in $25,910 less state funding which we must make up in our FY 13-14 (fiscal year 2013-14) budget.”

If the match goes up from there, so do the losses.

“At a ten percent local match increase, this would call for us to lose $51,822,” according to the agenda. “This local match increase will continue until it reaches either a 15 percent total of $77,732 or 20 percent of $103,543.”

TAWC currently generates 6.7 percent in matching funds.

While advertising funds can be utilized as local match, bus fare revenue cannot.

“We’ve been doing this for a lot of years,” Hessley said, explaining that TAWC built up matching funds that ultimately paid for its building on Clark Street.

“Now we’re up against it. Funding agencies have diminished their contributions to the point where we didn’t know we would meet it (local match) this year,” he said. “If our local match goes up and they don’t allow us to use some of those other funding (streams),” Hessley was not optimistic that the match could be met.

Board member Cindy Jarzab asked how the transportation proposal would affect TAWC’s shared ride and Medical Assistance programs. “They are going to be indirectly impacted,” she said.

“(We) will see an increase in shared ride request on the other two,” TAWC staff member Brad Wilcox said.

Ending Saturday service and running at peek times have been two ways that have been discussed that could potentially save the fixed route program if local match cannot be met.