Fixed-route bus service gets part of local match

The Warren County Commissioners approved resolutions last week providing some of the local match needed to secure funding for fixed-route service by the Transit Authority of Warren County (TAWC).

The two resolutions with TAWC provide for a local match for state operation financial assistance and for certifying “responsibility of municipality” for advertising revenue shortfall.

The commissioners approved providing $5,000 to the local match required to secure state operational financial assistance funding for 2013-2014.

According to TAWC Director John Aldrich, he, authority board members and commissioners met recently to discuss local match funding.

Some local match revenue is generated by advertising revenue from the buses and some is requested from municipalities served by the buses and the county.

In the past, the remainder not received through advertising, has been received from the Area Agency on Aging in return for use of the second floor of the intermodal transportation building on Clark Street through a three-way agreement between the county, the agency and TAWC.

There was some initial question, due to sequestration cuts, to whether the Agency on Aging would be able to hold up its end of the agreement if continued this year. After meeting with the agency, according to Commissioner Chairman Stephen Vanco, the commissioners were reassured they would be able to.

A three-way agreement will have to be postponed until August however, due to the differences between the county, Agency on Aging and TAWC fiscal years.

While the county runs on a fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, TAWC follows the state’s fiscal year beginning July 1 and the Agency on Aging runs on the federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The county approval of the resolutions occurs prior to approval of TAWC and Agency on Aging components as a result.

“Each agency runs on a different fiscal calendar,” Vanco said later in the day, “so we have to do these agreements as they become pertinent.”

Due to funding cuts, the Agency on Aging may be unable to provide remaining funding in the future.

The commissioners noted they are currently working with TAWC to organize a public meeting of organizations involved with TAWC funding to discuss transportation funding in the county and formulate a blueprint for funding moving forward.

The transportation plan laid out in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal for this year, if passed, would increase the percentage of funding required for local match over upcoming years.