Local match gives TAWC some room to breathe

With matching funds in place for the upcoming fiscal year, the Transit Authority of Warren County is already looking ahead to 2014-2015.

To fund the fixed-route program, the Authority is required to generate a certain amount of local matching funds to leverage against their state allocation for the program. The transportation plan laid out by Gov. Tom Corbett as part of his budget proposal calls for the local match percentage to increase over the next several years.

While meeting local match has been a challenge for TAWC, members of the board recently met with the Warren County Commissioners and TAWC Director John Aldrich said that local match contribution from the commissioners “feel…more secure. The commissioners seem more likely to make a donation. Next year it looks like they are factoring us into the equation.”

He explained that the relationship between the Authority and the commissioners could deepen if, for example, TAWC services could be utilized to decrease the county’s human service transportation costs.

The commissioners contributed $5,000 to TAWC’s local match for 2013-2014 fiscal year.

For 2014-2015, local match is set at $38,255, according to information provided at last Thursday’s board meeting.

Estimates show $10,000 of that total being generated by advertising revenue from the buses. If the commissioner’s contribution holds steady, that leaves TAWC with $23,255 to generate from the local municipalities that the fixed route program serves.

Aldrich said that the Authority will seek to hold a meeting of all funding partners in the fall to “explain to each of these townships what we do as a transit authority. That we do other things. We can only ask for match from partners where the fixed route buses run.”

That program runs through nine municipalities. In addition to the City of Warren, the buses run through Youngsville and Clarendon boroughs as well as Pleasant, Glade, Sheffield, Conewango, Mead and Brokenstraw townships.

To put together funding requests, the Authority totaled the population of all eligible municipalities and determined what percent of the population each municipality was. The percentage was then multiplied by the remaining total of local match, $23,255, to derive a total that TAWC will request.

For example, the City of Warren contains 37.38 of the people served by the fixed route program. Multiplied by $23,255, TAWC would ask the City for $8,693.

“We think it is a fair method,” Aldrich said.

“Population was used because that’s probably the only possible methodology,” Board Chairman Tom Hessley said.

Mead and Brokenstraw townships have not been asked for funding previously but do contain portions of fixed routes.

The Authority’s shared ride program also has a local match requirement but “Experience Incorporated provides the required local match for the Shared Ride program,” according to documentation presented at the meeting. “The current match received for this program is $55,500.”