Mon Valley transit agencies eye merger
The Mid-Mon Valley Transit Authority will begin a third decade of operation in 2014.
But whether it will be in existence for its 30th anniversary in 2015 could be determined in the coming year.
The authority, which provides transit services for 21 Valley communities, is actively involved in a study that could culminate in a merger of its agency with Washington County Transportation – also known as Washington County Rides – and the City of Washington Transit Authority.
The study is already more than a year in the making, but could be advanced in earnest throughout 2014, said Marc Roncone, executive director of MMVTA.
Phase I of the study was completed in November 2012. That looked at how much each of the three authorities spends to provide transit services and if each could realize savings with one unit.
“The savings realized could be used for additional services as well as for coordinating transportation countywide,” Roncone said of the savings uncovered in that study.
Phase II of the study began at the end of October and should be completed in mid-spring, Roncone said.
That will determine how the three transit providers could form one entity – either with one absorbing the other two or by forming one new authority.
Once that six-month study is completed, the next step will be to bring local and county leaders on board to make a decision on a possible merger.
How long will that stage take?
“It's hard to tell because we're going to get into political issues, money issues,” Roncone said.
Although any possible merger would include the three transit authorities located in Washington County, the goal for the MMVTA will still be to provide Valley wide service regardless of county lines.
“For the MMVTA, our goal is to sustain public transit long term in the Valley and, hopefully, improve fixed -route service,” Roncone said.
For example, Roncone noted that there is currently no transit service between the Valley and Washington, Pa.
The merger slao could help alleviate an ongoing problem – finding local share funding.
Transit providers are expected to receive 15 percent of their funding from the local communities they serve.
For years, MMVTA has received a waiver from that requirement because the Valley was considered a distressed area.
As a result, local communities served by MMVTA provide just 2 percent.
But that waiver was removed by the state in recent years.
Local communities are expected, over years, to increase their contributions until that local match is met.
That local match includes just operating costs. It does not take into consideration the cost of capital improvements, including new buses.
“We're hoping, if we come together, we might be able to find a way of taking the burden off these communities,” Roncone said.
He added there is a good chance that, if everything stays on track, the merger could take effect by early 2015.
“That could all be next year… or it could be years from now.”
But why is a merger important?
“It's really about sustaining transportation,” Roncone said.
“As three separate entities, we have a hard time raising the revenue to sustain not just the service, but the capital improvements.
“We need to make sure we have a plan so we can sustain the service long term.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Washington Township man arrested on drug charges
- Fast food: Mobile kitchen serves students at Cal U
- Five implicated in Ringgold beatings
- By any name, Haberman forever linked to recollections of Donora
- New York movie crew attracts stares as it shoots in Donora
- Siblings linked to missing Rostraver man jailed in unrelated cases
- Elizabeth Forward, area police react to Web gun rumor
- Monongahela Donora Lions Club still serving despite dwindling membership
- Monessen shooting suspect nabbed
- Monessen man gets jail in drug cases
- Mon City drug suspect picked up in Lehigh Co.