As of press time on February 13, Green Mountain Transit and the Vermont Agency of Transportation have confirmed that the season service routes that had been proposed for suspension are no longer being recommended for suspension for fiscal year 2020. As The Valley Reporter goes to press the issue of public transit is under discussion by members of the Mad River Valley Transportation Advisory Committee (MRV-TAC).
Previously Green Mountain Transit officials let local MRV-TAC members know that due to several years of budget deficits, local service would be suspended on July 1, 2019.
“As of this time, it has been confirmed by both Green Mountain Transit (GMT) staff and Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) that the seasonal bus services will not be recommended for suspension for Fiscal Year 2020, though planning stages are beginning with GMT, VTrans and community transportation stakeholders about what efficiencies or additional contributions can be utilized for the FY20 season to reduce the funding gap. A focus for the coming months will be establishing a sustainable transportation provision plan for the future,” explained Mariah Noth, Mad River Valley Planning District community planner, in an email to stakeholders.
“VTrans has agreed to assist GMT, which will be undergoing an efficiency enhancement process in the coming months, by covering any remaining funding gap for seasonal services for FY20. This is contingent upon GMT completing due diligence to implement organizational and route efficiencies as well as seek increased contributions where possible throughout its service area. Both GMT and VTrans are aware it is likely too late in municipal budget cycles for towns to appropriate additional transit funding for the coming year; however, concerted conversations are beginning in GMT-serviced communities to establish a sustainable transit provision plan given the financial challenges revealed this year,” Noth added.
The MRV-TAC and local municipalities have been collaborating with the GMT staff and board of commissioners over the last few weeks to understand the situation and chart a path forward. With the recent announcement of funding assistance from VTrans for FY20, communities have been given the time necessary to hold constructive discussions and plan for sustainable transit provision beyond 2020.
This week’s MRV-TAC meeting will focus on planning a transit strategy for the MRV bus service for FY20 and beyond as a collaborative effort of GMT staff and community stakeholders. The meetings of the MRV-TAC are open to the public and all resources and meeting documents can be located under the MRV-TAC section at https://mrvpd.org/agendas-minutes/.