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WARREN COUNCIL Concerns noted on bus service



Published: Wed, June 13, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The contribution of $46,832 would be based on Warren's population.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Plans for a countywide transportation system are moving along, but some city council members have concerns that the system will duplicate services.

Council is expected to decide soon whether to kick in its share -- no less than $46,832 per year -- for a door-to-door bus service.

John Homlitas, D-3rd, who is sponsoring a resolution of support tonight, said at Tuesday's finance committee meeting he plans to seek passage if concerns are hammered out.

Sherry Cox-Calloway, D-at large, thinks proposed fees of $3 to $9 are too high and that disabled and disadvantaged riders won't want to pay that.

She noted that agencies such as SCOPE Senior Center and Trumbull Community Action Program run similar services that could be a duplication.

Dan Polivka, D-at large, said council will decide in coming months whether to approve Community Development Block Grants to fund those two programs.

The city's share would come from its 2002 general fund, officials said.

The service would be based in Niles and serve several Trumbull County communities.

Contributions: Niles recently agreed to give $20,932 a year, based on a dollar per person, and trustees in Liberty agreed Monday to make a contribution of up to $13,500 for one year.

Vienna Township has pledged $4,000.

County commissioners have pledged $120,000; participating communities are to raise $120,000; and Eastgate Regional Council of Governments is giving $240,000.

The local money is being used to obtain state and federal matching funds.

Other communities, including Howland and Cortland, have expressed interest.

Sees a need: Officials say Trumbull County is the largest Ohio county without a public transit service. Niles Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr. is spearheading the plan.

The county has been without a countywide system since the end of last year, when commissioners decided not to renew their contract with Trumbull Area Coordinated Transportation.

All the federal transit money available for Mahoning and Trumbull counties, about $2.56 million this year, goes to Western Reserve Transit Authority in Youngstown.

WRTA, however, operates only a fixed-route system in Trumbull County.

Warren City Council voted earlier this year to give up the city's federal designation to receive mass transportation funds, clearing the way for Niles to develop and operate the service.

Proposed fares are $3 within the community, $6 to other destinations and $9 for trips outside the county.

Infante told the finance committee that starting out, the service will cost about $1.1 million per year and that getting funding in place could take three to six months.




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