State shifts DART funding to local levelPublished 4:52pm Monday, December 24, 2012
Rose Scherr is finishing the annual Dial-a-Ride Transit reports, so I thought I would share some of the information being sent to the DART Advisory Committee for its Jan. 3 meeting.
In ridership on Dial-a-Ride Transit since 2005, there was a sharp drop-off when Dowagiac Union School District closed McKinley School.
Since 2010, there has been a slow, but steady increase in ridership each year.
Performance indicators include cost per passenger, cost per mile and cost per hour. Each of those three cost factors have dropped significantly during the past two years.
Unfortunately, more funding changes are potentially coming from the state of Michigan.
There are strong indicators that beginning in 2014, the cost share for purchasing buses is likely to change.
Currently and historically, capital purchases, such as buses, have been funded with 80 percent federal funds and 20 percent state funds.
The proposed changes would keep federal funding at 80 percent, the state would change to 13 percent and the local agency to 7 percent.
This shifting of costs to the local level will create an even bigger burden for agencies that provide transportation services to their communities.
At the Dec. 10 city council meeting, several council members indicated the city
should look at the potential cost and liability of opening the fenced playground area of the former McKinley School on the corner of Second and Paris Avenue to the public.
City Clerk Jim Snow has been to the county Register of Deeds to track down the multiple deeds for the former McKinley School building and adjoining playground areas.
Potential ownership challenges will be reviewed when the council meets for its strategic planning retreat on Feb. 1.
— Kevin Anderson
Dowagiac City Manager