Timing of Trial Dependent on State Budget Accord
LOCK HAVEN – Clinton County’s Public Transit Advisory Committee was hoping regional bus service would be up and running in southern Clinton County by Nov. 6 of this year.
But committee members, meeting at the county Garden Building on Monday, warned that the proposed Nov. 6 start-up date may be in jeopardy. A delegation from the service provider, Williamsport-based River Valley Transit, told the committee that RVT is ready to begin an express service, two morning runs and a late afternoon run between Williamsport and the WalMart in Bald Eagle Township, with multiple stops in-between.
But that limited proposal made no provision for senior citizens or Lock Haven University students. The limited start-up, according to Bill Nichols, RVT general manager, is because the state legislature still has not finalized a state income budget for the fiscal year which began three months ago; creating concern as to if and when proposed state PennDOT funding will be available. PennDOT will be the major monetary provider for the project.
City of Lock Haven committee representative Steve Stevenson questioned the “express route” proposed for the county. As he read it, he said, someone taking the bus to WalMart would not be able to get a bus back to their point of origin until 12 hours later. County commissioner Jeff Snyder picked up on Stevenson’s comments and said the trial run has “gotta’ be successful.” He said if it is not “user friendly” at the beginning, the project should be delayed until January when Lock Haven University students return for the second semester, starting with a full program of service to the community.
Committee members agreed the state budget situation remains fluid and moved to meet again in two weeks, on Oct. 16, to see if the proposed Nov. 6 start-up date is feasible or if another delay is in order. Earlier talk had been of a February start-up, then an August start-up; now November is not a sure thing.
As proposed almost a year ago, the service would link Clinton County to existing RVT routes serving Lycoming County. A three-year trial has been proposed with 85 percent of the costs coming from PennDOT, three percent from RVT and the remaining 12 percent from among local participants including the county, the city, the Clinton County Housing Authority, First Quality and Lock Haven University.