County transit plan speeds up
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:14
Stakeholders learned at the start of a work session Monday they have less time than anticipated to finish work on updating Wood County's Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan.
Robin Richter, director of senior and transportation services for WSOS Community Action, who is facilitating the effort, told the group the deadline set by the Ohio Department of Transportation is now late March. The timeline called for the group to adopt a plan at a March 20 meeting and submit it to the Wood County Commissioners in early April, and then to the ODOT.
Richter will be adjusting the meeting schedule to meet the deadline.
The ODOT deadline is important for agencies that want to apply for grants to help cover the cost of transportation vehicles, both new and replacement.
Richter noted there are at least 80 funding sources, based on data gathered by the group. The sources range from tax support to agencies such as United Way and the Salvation Army.
Monday's meeting produced a list of possible strategies to consider in developing the plan. The strategies will be prioritized at a Feb. 26 meeting at 2 p.m. in the Commissioner's Hearing Room of the Wood County Office Building.
Attendees split into three groups Monday.
Governance, organization and budgeting:
• Gather all who provide transportation and are interested in coordinating services together. Find out what each offers, from basic transportation to gas vouchers.
• Determine if one (or more) of the stakeholders is willing to fund a transportation coordinator for the system.
• Determine if a stakeholder is willing to host that position or should the job be handled by a private contractor.
• Determine the capacity of existing vehicles, if there is excess capacity and how it can be coordinated.
Human services needs:
• Gather the stakeholders and look for duplication.
• Create a human services coordinating committee.
• Continue needs assessment and add transportation needs into data collection.
• Move toward a Transportation Development Plan.
• Promote awareness of existing transportation options. Develop a transportation guide both printed and online.
• Investigate how Henry County coordinates their system. Henry County's transportation coordinator was one of the speakers at the group's Jan. 29 meeting. Identify the obstacles, how to mobilize assets and get stakeholders involved.
• Hire a mobility manager.
• Identify unused or untapped funding, optional funding methods, local sources for matching funds and identify partners.