City officials say public transportation not needed now

A public transportation system isn't something city officials believe is affordable or necessary so a plan broached at a joint meeting last month will go nowhere.

At least for now.

"We decided it appeared as though it would cost us a lot more money over the long term and we didn't see a need, so we just dropped it," City Manager Jim Ferree said.

The city will request the research done on a public transportation system be adopted into to the Regional Transportation Committee's 20-year plan so that if a public transportation system ever becomes needed, the information is available, he said.

"If we ever decided to get into the public transportation business, our plan will provide for that," he

said.

Federal money for transportation is available, which is why the city and county jointly hired a consultant in November to determine the need and cost for a public transportation system. It was originally believed those federal dollars could help subsidize vans for senior citizens and the Independent Life Center but during the study it was discovered that those dollars had to be used for general public transportation.

"We can't just isolate services to seniors and the disabled, we have to make them available to the general public," Ferree said.

The study determined that it could cost $25,000 to $50,000 a year in local dollars to fund a public transportation system.

There is a grant available to purchase a van, which Moffat County Housing Authority Director Keith Antonsen plans to apply for to replace the aging senior citizens van.

The city and county subsidize the vans for the elderly and ILC to the tune of nearly $54,000 a year and kick in another $20,000 toward a commuter bus between Craig and Steamboat Springs.

City Council members said transportation needs for the elderly and disabled are being met.

"It looks like we're able to meet those needs now," Mayor Dave DeRose said.

Ferree said during the public input process there was no need shown for public transportation. Those who attended were users of the senior or ILC vans, which provide adequate transportation for now.

"If there's really that much need out there, why hasn't it come to us instead of us going after it and throwing money at something that may not be needed," Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele said.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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