ELIZABETHTOWN — Some new buses that the Essex County Transportation Department wanted and couldn’t get approval for are back.
With the request pared from five vehicles to two and the county share of federal funding from $100,000 to a mere $198, the County Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval to the purchase this week.
A federal Rural Transit Assistance Program grant of $215,500 will buy one trolley, one bus, bus-stop shelters and signs.
All of the purchases, except for some of the signs, are for the Village of Lake Placid. The $198 is the county’s share for the signs.
No vehicles will go to the county’s public transport system, which runs routes Monday through Friday around the county.
County Transportation Director Nancy Dougal said Lake Placid has agreed to pay the 10 percent match for the grant.
“For the village, we have (total prices of) $130,000 for a trolley, $65,000 for a bus, $17,200 for bus shelters and $1,320 for bus-stop signs. Their match is $21,252.”
The Board of Supervisors Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved the purchases, with Supervisors Joyce Morency (R-St. Armand) and Sharon Boisen (I-Essex) absent.
A final vote is at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1.
Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall had told the County Transportation Subcommittee earlier that the transportation system in the village serves 90,000 visitors yearly and relies on grant funding. The week that followed Labor Day, he’d said, saw between 260 and 280 riders daily.
“Potentially, the loss of funding would make the system come to an end in its current structure.”
Supervisor Margaret Bartley (D-Elizabethtown), who chairs the Transportation Subcommittee, said earlier the county would try again in two years to replace public buses.
“There will be another round of funding to apply for those other buses.”
NO COUNTY BUSES
In August, supervisors had balked at paying the match for a $1.5 million grant for five new buses, a bus garage and equipment. Dougal came back with an appeal for a reduced purchase.
“I didn’t include any (county) buses, because the buses we have right now, I should be able to operate until the next round,” Dougal said. “We shouldn’t have too many problems because we keep them in a good state of repair. “
She said she’ll try again in the 2013-14 funding round.
The Olympic Regional Development Authority also asked for new buses, for use as skier shuttles, and that request was included in the previous package, Dougal said.
“ORDA runs on a different year than we do, so they hadn’t planned for these purchases, even though they requested them being included. We ran with what we had last year, and we will do the same this year.”
The Board of Supervisors is also releasing a 2006 Ford bus to the Town of Keene, for use as a hiker shuttle. The bus had previously been used as part of a joint county-town effort to ferry hikers from a parking area at Marcy Field to the Garden Trailhead for the High Peaks.
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