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WRTA moves into new offices, plans station upgrade

Published: Fri, August 27, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



Although the parking lot still needs to be lined, the new Western Reserve Transit Authority administration building is open on schedule and under budget.

The WRTA board of trustees met Thursday afternoon at the 25-year-old Mahoning Avenue office for the first time since construction began last year.

“This was a big project, and we’re glad to see it come to the end,” said Executive Director James Ferraro.

The expansion added a 960-square foot area on the second floor for a board/conference room and an elevator to comply with standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The project cost about $1.2 million and was funded with federal stimulus money. WRTA received a total of $3.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In connection with the expansion, WRTA has hired 14 drivers, three office workers and three mechanics, Ferraro said.

“No one’s getting rich over here, but we are having an impact on Mahoning County’s economy,” he said.

The stimulus money was allocated for capital projects: $2.1 million for the administrative office expansion, $990,000 for 12 buses and five minivans, $352,000 for operating assistance, $72,000 for surveillance cameras and $15,000 for bus shelters.

Any surplus left over from improvements to the administrative building would either be used by WRTA or go back to the federal government, said Marianne Vaughn, secretary-treasurer.

“For example, say we have a stimulus line item for a bus shelter, but if we have enough money to buy 10 bus shelters, we could do that,” Vaughn said.

At Thursday’s meeting, trustees received a federal grant, not stimulus money, and awarded a $680,000 contract to improve the Federal Station driveway, sidewalks and shelters.

The work is scheduled to begin Sept. 7 and will be finished before the end of the year, said Don Meszaros, WRTA’s director of maintenance.

“We’re spending a lot of money down there [at Federal Station], and we need to make it presentable if we expect the public to support us,” said trustee John P. Brown, III.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The WRTA is a Waste of Taxpayers' Monies. This is exactly why the Congressional DemoWRONGS like Tim Ryan with their Tax & Spend ways need to go away in November. The buses run empty every day with only a few people on them at most anytime I run into one as I'm driving around.

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2ohio11pm(23 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I would love to see figures of how many actual riders they have versus their spending. I am so tired of seeing completely empty buses all over the county and knowing this is where our tax money is going. No sane people continue to fund a busing endeavor that has virtually no riders.

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3Daisymarie(2 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I am confined to a wheelchair and the wrta bus service has been very valuable to me. I LOVE this service that they have provided for the disabled. I am happy to see that they have made improvements to the station. When I went for my pass early last year, I was appalled at the terrible working conditions for the employees. My picture for my pass was taken way back in some nasty boiler room!

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4HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Could_it_be has a point but do we need to spend millions of dollars to provide the needy transportation and is busing the most cost effective method? I'd say no. Running large buses nearly empty is a waste. Do we need to provide million dollar offices in a dumpy area in order to have an effective WRTA? I'd say no. I don't think most people would argue that we need to provide for the needy. The problem lies in the exorbitant cost that the government seems compelled to spend to provide such basic services.

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5pindrop(21 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer...we can spend money on extra fancy office space (which shouldn't cost $1200 / sq ft) but in the meantime, the only daytime homeless shelter is closing its doors as we speak! :O Oh the humanity.

"I can measure the movement of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of man."
- Isaac Newton

Public transportation is necessary but low budget doesn't require pass photography taking place in a dingy station let alone a dingy boiler room.

Stop voting for these worthless politicians.

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6georgejeanie(956 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Why n ot just buy all these people without transportation a car, it would be cheaper in the long run. Then you could provide smaller type vehicles for the handicapped who could call for a ride when they need one?Then you could get rid of all these government workers who demand more wages and added fringe benefits at every bargaining session.

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7marilyn99(20 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Its about time WRTA did something... the place always has looked like a dump site. To bad the attitude of the ignorant and dangerous teenagers that ride the buses can't be upgraded. Ann Varmus

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8marilyn99(20 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh yeah, perhaps someone over there in the new offices can do something about the drivers disconcern for passangers safety? Oh and, can someone do something about how the buses breeze by white people waiting for the bus but stop on a dime for black people? Oh and yeah, can someone do something about the black passengers who ride free the same trip a white person without the money is turned down? Gee, you think the black drivers have a racial problem going on against white people? Ann Varmus

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9starofesther(168 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Public transportation...I have a car and use this in the winter I hope they keep it clean and clean the buses!

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