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County hears RIDES request

Transit authority seeks $5,000

January 24, 2014
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday heard a request for $5,000 in funding from RIDES, the Spencer-based regional transit authority.

Making the request were RIDES executive director Hugh Lively and chief financial officer Sam Johnson. The request was the same as for the current year.

In making the request, Lively showed figures for various funding sources, including area government and nonprofit agencies, the elderly and the disabled.

Lively noted that the last year ended June 30, 2013 "was the end of our lean years" in which RIDES had to use its reserves to continue operations.

He said last year ended up with a $100,000 deficit but that projections are on track to break even this year and to get ahead the following year. "This next fiscal year we're looking at coming a little money ahead," Lively said.

Lively said the regional transit authority replaced 30-35 buses in 2009 through the assistance of federal stimulus money. Recent added costs have come from having to replace radios with newer narrow band models. He said surveillance cameras were also bought for most of the buses.

Lively said the fleet includes a number of buses 4-5 years old with others in the 10- to 12-year range.

"We're going to be looking at replacing buses," said Lively, adding that RIDES can buy a bus for $60,000 with the federal government paying 85 percent of the cost. He said the transit authority now has 67 buses total.

Lively said the more cities and counties share the cost of operation, the easier it is to offer lower fares. The fare is Estherville is now $2.50.

"We haven't passed on any increases in several years," Lively said.



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