TAWC: No cuts in fixed routes

The Transit Authority of Warren County’s fixed route program is safe for the next fiscal year.

As presented in February, Gov. Tom Corbett’s transportation proposal for the 2013-2014 fiscal year could have placed TAWC’s local match essentially out of reach, leaving the authority in a place where cutting the fixed route service on Saturdays, at a bare minimum, was discussed.

But new figures released by PennDOT indicate that the authority’s local match will rise; but not nearly as far as it might have.

According to an email from PennDOT, TAWC is eligible for $550,224 in state funding that will require a $36,434 local match.

The governor’s plan originally called for a 15 percent increase in local match, which would have meant that TAWC’s number to match could have been $77,732.

According to documentation provided at last Thursday’s board of directors meeting, last year’s local match of $34,699 leveraged $518,216. The $36,434 local match for next year will yield $550,224 in state funding. That extra $1,735 in local match will leverage an additional $32,008 in state funding.

TAWC staff are optimistic that the new local match number can successfully be met.

“I think by possibly borrowing some prior year funds, if we can, we can keep the level of service where we (are) now,” John Aldrich, TAWC’s executive director, said.

The authority has $11,358 in unused local match funding from the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Its plan is to draw $1,735 from that account to meet the local match, assuming all other municipal funding sources hold constant.

Making the match allows service levels to remain where they currently are.

Aldrich said he heard “a lot of people concerned” about a potential cut in Saturday service. “If we can avoid that, we should try to do that,” he said.

He explained that the authority is considering holding a meeting with all of its funding sources “to promote the authority and our idea and methodology…not only show the importance of the fixed route service to their township. Kind of market (the authority) as a little bigger package.”