The WRTA board also will put renewal of the 2-mill operating levy on the May ballot.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Western Reserve Transit Authority Board trustees had a visit Thursday from Mayor George McKelvey, who asked the board to investigate the cost to relocate the West Federal Street station.
The mayor wants an answer, in the event the site is deemed more suitable for construction of a proposed civic center than a brownfield site that's been under consideration near the Market Street bridge.
The mayor requested:
U Acquisition cost for WRTA's current facility.
U Relocation cost (purchase of property, site clearance, etc.).
U Construction costs for a new building.
U Availability of Federal Transportation Administration funds.
A timeline for acquisition and relocation of WRTA's bus terminal.
Mayor's comments: McKelvey told the board "we must remain open-minded" when considering possible sites for the civic center but that obtaining the requested information was "not a pressing concern in terms of days or weeks."
The mayor said he expects to have two consultants on board to study the proposal within the next 10 days.
Tentative labor pact: In other business, the WRTA board approved a tentative labor agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 377.
The three-year agreement stipulates that members will work a minimum of six hours at a time and one-half day on designated holidays -- Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. Workers will also receive 4-percent pay raises in each of the first two years and a 3-percent raise in the third year, bringing salaries to $14.36 an hour in the first year, $14.94 the second year and $15.39 the third year.
Other actions: The board also approved placing a renewal of the 2-mill operating levy on the May ballot and unanimously approved a motion for Michael Bosela to serve another term as board president.
Tom Anderson, who finished his three-year term as a board member with this meeting, made the motion that Bosela continue to serve in his current capacity.
Anderson told his colleagues that he will no longer serve as a board member because he does not want public comments that he makes about county expenditures to various transportation companies to be interpreted as being those of the board. "It is my personal view and I don't want my comments to reflect on all of you," he said.
The board suspended the vote for board vice president until its February meeting.
A rise in ridership: James J. Ferraro, WRTA executive director, told the board that ridership in December 2001 exceeded that of December 2000 by 24 percent. Almost 7,000 of the new riders were adults, most of whom took the bus to get to work, he said.
Although the 108,341 riders who took the bus this December is up significantly from the year before, Ferraro said he'd like it to be even better. He said some of the increase may be because of the difference in weather year to year. Last year, cold, snowy days may have kept potential riders at home while springlike temperatures this year may have helped boost ridership.
Overall, ridership in 2001 was up almost 16 percent from the year before, he reported, the highest it's been since the early 1990s.