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PATHWAYS & TRAILS UPDATE 2-6-13 LMS
In an update presented to the February 6 meeting of the Salmon City Council JoAnn Wolters reminded the council that city residents are very much a part of the Lemhi County Alternate Mobility program.
Wolters cited the two new transportation vans as an example of efforts on everyoneís behalf and then listed present and future plans for trails and pathways. She said the path along Highway 28 to City Park will hopefully be completed this summer and that the Americans with Disabilities Act accessible pathway along the Salmon River to Morgan Bar should be finished by this fall. That project is headed by Liz Townley of the Bureau of Land Management, which has supplied the majority of the projectís funding. Her efforts are being backed by the Alternate Mobility Team and on-going assistance from District Six Mobility Manager Jeff Osgood. Wolters said the next priority project on the agenda is a pathway from the city southward along Highway 93 to the Airport Road and on to the Shoup Bridge. Exactly how that will be accomplished is still in the works and being approached from many different angles.
Other projects getting attention are development of Safe Routes to School and Scenic Byways projects. Wolters said there have been many recent changes to funding avenues and that has slowed down the process although work on both goals is continuing.
Public Transportation is of prime interest and that too has been affected by funding issues. A grant to fund an After Hours program was obtained in 2011and was supposed to start in April of 2012. Wolters said the grant authorization might be signed sometime the week of February 10th. Due to the delay the grant may arrive just as the 2013 funding cycle begins. The Alternate Mobility Team has been told the grants may be combined or extended into another year. She said the same delays are happening all over the state for 5316 and 5317 funding which includes this area.
The purpose of the After Hours program is to use the new local vans to fill in services not being covered by the Targhee Regional Public Transportation Authority (TRPTA). Those services would include after hour and weekend transportation as well as Medicare trips to medical appointments in Missoula and Salt Lake City. It would also include transportation services on the same day as they are requested and a local dispatch service.
Wolters said a contingency of local residents and officials traveled to Idaho Falls about a year ago to meet with TRPTA representatives. Eight local requests were made which included same day service and local dispatch. At that time, and currently, calls have to be made to Idaho Falls a day in advance of the transportation need. The 2012 request included implementation within a year. She said the result of the meeting, if anything, was that TRPTA pulled back on driverís hours and dispatch services. She said the Lemhi County Commissioners gave TRPTA $10,000 in good faith to help obtain the requested services however the company, instead, cut back on services. Wolters said similar situations are occurring in Idaho Falls and other areas where TRPTA operates.
The Alternate Mobility Team is pushing ahead with the After Hours plan and Commissioner John Jakovac is working with the Lemhi County Economic Development Association in hopes it will assume administration duties of the grant monies.
Wolters said there will be some matching money requirements which the Alternate Mobility fund will be able to supply from the $10,000 annual contribution from Lemhi County. The grant monies will help get the After Hours program launched and be enough to pay for drivers and fuel expenses. She said the Community Transportation Association of Idaho (CTAI) has always been very supportive of the Salmon projects and so has Mobility Manager Jeff Osborne. The six state districts work under the CTAI which is under the Idaho Transportation Department. She said procurement of the vans was made possible through district help and the opportunity of getting a second van was entirely because of Osborne.
In view of all the assistance it has given this area, such as providing the ADA training required for van drivers, Wolters said the Mobility Team would like to see the city and county support CTAI. More training will be needed if the vans start runs to Missoula and that training is available under the Rural Transportation Program which is under the CTAI. She said it costs $250 to join CTAI which in turn makes city and county staff members eligible for webinar training programs that include instruction in grant procedures. Wolters said that if the city and county shared the cost of paying for a Lemhi County Alternate Mobility Team membership in CTAI, employees of all partners involved would become eligible for the Community Transportation Associationís many training opportunities.
Wolters has recently been named as this districtís representative on the Public Transportation Advisory Council which has oversight over grants. She is also a board member of the Community Transportation Association of Idaho, one of this areaís representatives for the Idaho Transportation Departmentís Idaho Mobility and Access Pathway program and co-coordinator of the Local Mobility Management Network.
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