TRUMBULL COUNTY Commissioners pledge public transportation funds

WARREN -- Trumbull County commissioners have pledged to match the money kicked in by townships, villages and cities to create a countywide public transportation system.
"This was the first step," said Niles Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr., who is spearheading the effort to start a bus system here.
Now, he said, supporters of a bus system will have to rally for the financial support of local communities.
Need commitments: To get the buses rolling, cities and townships will have to chip in a total of at least $100,000, at a rate of $1 per head, Infante said. Thus far, there have been no commitments.
Under the exponential math of matching grants, that money could become more than $1 million by the time a private contractor is hired to provide the transportation services, as soon next year, he said.
"We are giving our support if the others fall into place," said Commissioner James G. Tsagaris.
Matching money: The county has now agreed to match local contributions up to $120,000; next, the money would be matched by the state; then the federal government would donate its share. That amount, based on a complex formula, is estimated by Infante to be between $600,000 and $800,000.
"Then there is federal money to buy buses, build stations -- there is all kinds of money available," he said.
Federal money to operate a Trumbull County public transportation system would come out of the $2.6 million the federal government now gives each year to the Western Reserve Transit Authority , based in Youngstown. WRTA runs buses through parts of Girard and Niles, downtown Warren and the Belmont Avenue and Gypsy Lane corridors.

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