NILES Council moves on transit funds

Participating entities are being asked to allocate $1 for each person living in a community.
NILES -- City council is expected to consider legislation next week stating the city's intention to participate in a countywide transportation system.
The legislation calls for Niles to allocate no more than $20,932 from next year's budget for the public transportation system.
"We have to have it passed to file the application [for federal and state funding]," Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr. said at a finance committee meeting Wednesday.
The amount is based on population. Cities that participate are asked to allocated a dollar per person. The 2000 U.S. Census listed the city's population at 20,932.
Countywide plan: Infante is spearheading a plan for a countywide transportation system with Niles as the lead agency. Participation involves money from the communities that would be used as a match to get state and federal dollars, he said.
Letters were sent to all Trumbull County communities asking them to participate and to contribute $1 per person. Trumbull County commissioners committed $120,000.
Infante said Howland passed a resolution last week to participate.
"This could be a great thing and I applaud you for all of your effort," said Councilman Robert Marino Jr., D-at large, a finance committee member.
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 of 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. Infante hopes to get a portion of the federal dollars for the Trumbull system.
Application process: The application to the Federal Transit Administration to get funding must go to Eastgate Council of Regional Governments for approval.
"We want to file the application within a month or so," Infante said. "Then it will take 120 days or so for the federal authorities to review it."
Eastgate must certify the application, affirming that the criteria have been met. Criteria include local funding, a security policy, a drug-free policy, and plans to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and Equal Employment Opportunities Commission requirements.

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