Friday, April 19, 2013

Mountain Rides faces funding loss

Federal dollars could be cut by more than $200K

Express Staff Writer

There may soon be fewer Mountain Rides Transportation Authority buses serving the Wood River Valley, as federal funding cuts seem likely for fiscal year 2014. Photo by Roland Lane

    Mountain Rides Transportation Authority anticipates a cut in federal funding for fiscal year 2014 but the amount of the loss remains a question. However, it could be more than $200,000, which is almost 10 percent of the organization’s current budget.
    “The reality is there probably will be some cuts,” board member Nils Ribi said at a Wednesday meeting of the board of directors. “It’s very likely that we’re not going to get the amount we got in the past.”
    The bad news about funding came earlier this month when an Idaho Transportation Department Region 4 advisory group on federal funding allocations recommended that Mountain Rides receive only about 75 percent of the federal funding the organization wanted for the coming fiscal year. Mountain Rides requested a total of $1,065,000 in federal funding for operations and the advisory group is recommending only $753,446.
    Mountain Rides received $955,000 in federal funding for fiscal year 2013. The organization’s total budget for this fiscal year is $2.4 million.
    Board member Mark Gilbert said a loss of $200,000 would result in about 2,000 service hours being cut.
    However, Mountain Rides Executive Director Jason Miller said no final decisions have yet been made on federal funding.
    “I’m more hopeful now what that outcome might be,” Miller said. “At the ITD level, they understand that we’re frustrated by this.”
    Mountain Rides intends to appeal the regional advisory group recommendations at a meeting with the ITD state advisory committee in Boise on April 24. Mountain Rides intends to argue that the regional advisory group did not fully review the funding applications and did not consider “performance data.”
    Part of the rub to Mountain Rides is that the regional advisory committee is recommending that public transportation systems in the Twin Falls area received about 90 percent of the federal money they requested.
    Board Chairwoman Susan McBryant described the situation as “a fluid process; it’s ongoing.”
    “We’ll know more after our meeting in Boise,” McBryant said.
    Mountain Rides has already started tightening its belt in anticipation of fewer federal dollars next year. At the Wednesday meeting, the board voted 6-2 to eliminate several bus trips with low ridership on its Valley Route service, which runs daily between the north valley and the south valley.
    Dissenting votes were cast by board members Sarah Michael and Michael David.
    Gilbert and Ribi argued that Mountain Rides needs to be planning for future funding cuts.
    “The more savings we generate now, the more we’ll have for the future,” Gilbert said.
    Mountain Rides Operations Manager Jim Finch said signs will be posted at bus stops advising riders of services no longer available. He said the cuts will save Mountain Rides more than $14,000.

Terry Smith:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.