Council slashes transit funding


The Maricopa City Council moved last night to slash the amount of money allocated for public transit next year by more than 60 percent and begin a drastic overall of the city’s public transit system.

“I think we would be working backwards if we completely eliminated public transit services,” said councilmember Julia Gusse. “I think this is a great solution.”

The council voted to spend a maximum of $94,000 next fiscal year on public transit, compared to $250,000 spent in the current fiscal year. The money will be allocated from a special state contribution given to the city out of the state’s Local Transportation Assistance Fund.

“These funds can only be spent on transportation,” said Brent Billingsley, development services director.

City staff will work with the Arizona Department of Transportation to develop a vanpool-type program or some other transit service to replace existing services in October, when current funding expires.

The $94,000 will then be used to match dollars received from federal grants the city will apply for to fund the redesigned transit service.

By keeping some form of transit service in place for the next five years, the city will avoid having to pay back the nearly $500,000 it received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to purchase two buses and build a park-and-ride structure.