Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hailey pursues car-share program

Federal grant could supply 16 vehicles

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey is working with Mountain Rides Transportation Authority to gather support for a car-share program that could supply a pool of energy-efficient vehicles for use by individuals, governments and businesses in Blaine County.

The goal of the Clean City Car Share Program is to reduce energy consumption and create local jobs.

Hailey City Administrator Heather Dawson has been seeking participation from all cities in Blaine County to apply for a federal Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant to pay for 16 fuel-efficient vehicles that will be used on a cost-sharing basis.

The Clean City Car Share Program is based on similar programs in major cities, like the Zip Car Program in San Francisco.

Dawson said the grant request for approximately $1,706,000, if it is approved, would be leveraged by more than $8.2 million, which would be spent by Mountain Rides during a three-year grant period from other grants, contributions to Mountain Rides from area cities and Blaine County, and income generated by the program.

"The program would provide vehicles for short-term needs and amplify public transportation," Dawson said.

She said the program would allow the city to eliminate two automobiles from its fleet and create eight jobs in Blaine County.

The jobs would include administration positions for the program, maintenance of the new vehicles and peripheral jobs in the community.

Participants in the car-share program would have electronic keys and pay dues based on the amount of time they use the vehicles.

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