County objects to BG request that could cripple transportation plan PDF Print E-mail
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Friday, 14 March 2014 10:07
Wood County Commissioners Thursday morning approved an updated Public-Human Service Transportation plan update, moving a section of the plan that Bowling Green officials do not like to an appendix, rather than removing it completely from the document, as the city requested.
The updated plan, when submitted to the Ohio Department of Transportation, helps human service agencies apply for grants to purchase new or replacement vehicles to transport their clients.
Tuesday morning commissioners heard city officials ask that a section listing a Transportation Development Plan as a goal be removed from the plan. City officials believe the mention of the TDP could threaten money the city receives for its on-demand transit service and in the long-run expose the city to additional costs.
The amended plan indicates the idea of a TDP should be part of annual reviews of the entire document. A TDP would be needed if agencies and political subdivisions wanted to coordinate transportation services across the county. Bowling Green has been represented at the stakeholder meetings, along with agencies and a few other political subdivisions, where the updated plan was developed.
Human service agencies seek the grants through the 5310 program, while the city gets its funding through the 5311 program, which is reserved for rural public transportation in eight rural communities in the state. Both of the grants are administered by ODOT. Among the county agencies that use the 5310 grants are the Children's Resource Center and the Wood County Committee on Aging.
Commissioner Joel Kuhlman said he left Tuesday's meeting thinking the idea would be to strike the section BG dislikes. "I got a few calls about that and not everyone was happy," said Kuhlman, a former member of BG City Council.
Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said a TDP would not be tied to any one source of funding but could be tied to any funding source. "This plan is not specific. If we leave it in, the TDP could be explored but it (the plan) is not saying 'We're going to take your money, and your money, and your money.'"
Commissioner Doris Herringshaw indicated she was OK with putting the disputed section into the appendix. "It can be a part of the annual review and put into the document later if those reviewing request it. I would not want to get rid of it now."
"A lot of folks have done a lot of work on this and I assume this (work) will continue. This is in its infancy and will continue to grow," Commissioner Jim Carter said.
Carter added he had received no comments - for or against the plan.
Robin Richter, director of transportation for WSOS Community Action, who has facilitated the update, attended the session and indicated afterward she was happy with the commissioner's action.
"There is a lot of good work in the plan," Richter said. "You shoot for the moon with a document like this. I'm pleased this was moved to an appendix and not struck out. It sends a different message. To be able to help people we need all of the stakeholders involved," she said.
Richter said she was on her way Thursday to meet with a couple of members of the stakeholders steering committee to set dates for future meetings. "We've got the momentum going, let's get on with it and keep things moving," she said.

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