By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- Warren's absence from a countywide public bus system would be a pothole in the road of progress, but Niles Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr. said the plan will roll on.
"If Warren doesn't participate, it will just be a scaled down system or we'll just get more communities to participate," Infante said.
Warren council's concern: Members of Warren City Council's finance committee this week expressed concerns about spending money for a service they say may be duplicated by other agencies.
The city is being asked to spend $46,832, based on $1 per person.
Infante, who is spearheading the countywide transportation plan, said Niles, Howland, Vienna and Liberty each have passed resolutions to participate and contribute $1 per person for the system.
County commissioners have agreed to contribute $120,000 for the system.
The idea is to use the local money as a match for federal dollars.
Presentation to Girard: Infante will make a presentation to Girard council July 9.
If that city decides to participate, it would be asked to contribute $11,000, based on $1 per person.
"Trumbull County is the largest county in the state without a countywide transportation system," Infante said.
Some Warren officials have pointed to similar service provided by SCOPE Senior Center and Trumbull County Action Program.
That city has allocated Community Development Block Grant funds to pay for transportation by social service agencies.
Infante said the amount being requested for the countywide program is less than what Warren allocates for the other programs.
"For about $47,000, we can do the same thing and it's more complete," he said.
Warren officials also think the estimated rates are too high: $3 each way within a community; $6 each way from one community to another; and $9 round trip outside the county.
Infante said the actual fares may be less if enough entities get involved.
If the county's mental retardation and developmental disabilities and the department of job and family services sign on as well as the communities, the rates would be lower, he said.
Infante hopes to have a definite answer from Warren next month.
After participants have signed on, the city will file an application with the Federal Transportation Administration for funding.
The application must go to Eastgate Council of Regional Governments for approval. The federal agency may review the application for up to 120 days.
If the application is approved, a committee will be established with representatives from each community involved. The committee will develop the bid specifications for the contract to run the system.
"It will be open bidding and it will go to whoever submits the best bid," Infante said.