Counties apply for transportation grants

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM Denise Potts, left, director of the Monroe County Public Transportation, reviews the 2020 Grant Application with the Monroe County Board of Commissioners at Monday’s meeting. On the opposite side of the table are, from back, Commissioners Mick Shumacher, Carl Davis and Tim Price.

WOODSFIELD — The public transportation departments in local communities aid residents and require annual grants to sustain them.

Monroe County and Harrison County both recently applied for grants to fund the counties’ public transportation programs for the upcoming year.

Denise Potts, director of Monroe County Public Transportation, presented the Monroe County Board of Commissioners the MCPT’s 2020 proposal at last week’s meeting. The proposal totals $476,000.

The mission of the MCPT is to serve the people of the county by planning, providing and maintaining a safe, reliable and accessible transportation system.

“We offer transportation to all of Monroe County,” Potts said. “For the veterans, higher education, colleges, net programs, non-emergency, Job and Family Services and to seniors.”

Potts explained that the state funds in 2020 will be $20,000, and the state Elderly and Disabled Transit Fare Assistance Program in 2017 was $2,700, totalling $27,700.

An additional $186,400 is expected come from Monroe County contracts and donations, $14,400 from local shares from the Guernsey, Monroe and Noble County Community Action Council Program, GMN Program, for seniors and $27,700 from state funds mentioned above. The total amount of $228,500 is Monroe County’s share. The federal match will be equivalent, $228,500 plus $14,000 in Federal Capital Maintenance, Potts said.

The commissioners signed a resolution for the grant application and unanimously approved the proposal.

Potts also informed commissioners of the MCPT’s intentions to purchase a 2020 modified minivan. The total cost of the van is $39,433. She said that 80 percent — $31,546 — will come from the “53-39 Grant” and the other 20 percent — $7,887 — will come from a local share.

The local share will be paid from a Replacement Fund. The fund currently holds $40,000, she said.

“We get the money (in the fund) from selling vehicles at auctions,” she said.

Potts said officials will find out at the first of the year whether the grant will be approved.

“Last year’s grant application was approved,” she noted.

Potts mentioned the new computers that were recently installed in all the transportation vehicles through the TIGER, or Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, grant.

“We can always check in on our drivers, it’s really nice. … It’s interesting to watch,” she said.

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, the project improves customer satisfaction by providing more efficient on-time demand-responsive and fixed route operations. Improved scheduling and dispatching will lead to more efficient operation of vehicles, lower costs for transportation providers and clients, and more economical use of transit vehicles. Reliable communications will permit rural transit operator’s to respond to emergency situations more rapidly and drivers to remain with their vehicles when involved in an emergency or an incident, improving safety.

Harrison County Public Transportation plans to file for a similar grant, announced at last week’s Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting.

HCPT Director Karen Couch held a public hearing Wednesday to announce the application of an operating grant.

“The operating grant will provide financial assistance for public transporting services for the residents of Harrison County during 2020,” Couch said.

The HCPT is applying to ODOT for an operating grant and the Ohio Public Transportation Grant Program for $680,931.

She said the transportation fares are presently $2 per one-way trip within the village, $4 within the county, $10 per one-way trip up to 40 miles and from 40 to 50 miles is 25 cents per mile. Anything over 50 miles is $1 per mile. Children under 5 ride for free when accompanied by an adult. All trips depend on availability, she said.

The service currently operates 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The HCPT requests a 24-hour notice for in-county trips and a five-day notice for out-of-county trips.

Couch also announced that the HCPT would apply for two replacement vehicles as well. The total cost of the vehicles is $77,632.