(12/13/2006)
With a budget of nearly a half-million dollars, the Little Kanawha Bus Company will likely come into its' own as a regional transit authority.

The bus company, currently being operated by Community Resources in Grantsville, is moving toward becoming an independent agency known as the Little Kanawha Bus Transit Authority.

The authority would continue to serve Calhoun, Roane and Jackson County, with opportunity to expand into other areas.

The Little Kanawha Bus has operated successfully for six years, according to program manager Darlene Harris, but the change will offer new opportunities for the service to provide public transportation.

Harris said the bus company is not eligible for several funding streams if it remains under the umbrella of a non-profit agency like Community Resources.

Transit authorities are exempt from federal and state gasoline taxes.

The Calhoun Commission elected Monday to place three members on the transit board, stating that low-cost public transportation is an important service to rural Calhoun residents, particularly with the rising costs of gasoline.

The placement of board members require a $500 fee for each member. The transit board could have as few as five members nor more than 15. Members would serve three year staggered terms.

Funding for the proposed transit authority comes from state and federal funds, Medicaid and rider fees.

Melanie Pagilaro, director of CRI, said the agency supports the change and will continue to administer the program until the transit authority becomes official.

The company currently has 12 full-time employees and three part-time employees.


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