Friday, September 24, 2010

Mountain Rides passes $4.5M budget

Funding includes $2 million for new buses and vans

Express Staff Writer

The Mountain Rides Transportation Authority board of directors has approved a $4.5 million budget for fiscal year 2011.

The budget is about $2 million larger than earlier planned because Mountain Rides has yet to receive delivery of about $2 million worth of replacement buses and vans. Because of that, the funds, the result of successfully applying for federal grants and economic stimulus money, were carried over from the 2010 fiscal year budget.

The budget was approved by the board of directors at its meeting on Sept. 16.

The breakdown on the total budget of $4,557,750 is $2,494,000 for operating expenses and $2,063,750 for capital expenditures.

The operating expense funding is about $190,00 higher than the $2.3 million operations budget for 2010. The additional funds are additional federal grant money provided to Mountain Rides for a first year of operation of bus service between the Wood River and Magic valleys. Mountain Rides is still sorting out the details of the service, which is now projected to start in December.

Other than the new Magic Valley service, Mountain Rides Executive Director Jason Miller said operations will be similar to those provided in 2010.

"We have a solid budget that sets us up for maintaining services at current levels going into 2011," Miller said.

Mountain Rides currently provides Around Town bus service in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area and in Hailey, Valley bus service from Bellevue to Ketchum and Sun Valley, and commuter van service between the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley.

Terry Smith:

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