Transit Funding Vote
The county commission has voted not to automatically renew their contract with the South Central Regional Transit District (SCRTD). Funding from the county for the rural transit service will end in 120 days if the SCRTD cannot negotiate a new contract with the county.
Currently, funding for transit is largely provided out of the county’s “Hold Harmless” Gross Receipt Tax. According to an agreement with the county, SCRTD could receive up to $750,000 of the estimated $12 million dollars generated annually by this tax. The SCRTD only used about $500,000 in the first year of Hold Harmless GRT funding and has brought in another $500,000 through grants.
Ridership is increasing every month. New record so far for April is almost 1000 rides in just the first two weeks. The system is on track to exceed the goal for 24,000 rides in year two. This year’s funding request is only $350,000 and the SCRTD expects to use those funds to garner over $600,000 in grant money. Ridership is booming, money is coming in, the request for local funds is dropping. Just as the system is beginning to blossom, the county commission is threatening to withhold its support
Please consider coming to the Board of County Commissioners meeting on May 9th.
In the meantime, email or call the county commissioners.
Ramon Gonzalez O: 575 525 5804 C: 575 635 5212
Isabella Solis O: 575 525 5810 C: 575 635 2479
John Vasquez O: 575 525 5809 C: 575 635 5146
Billy Garrett O: 575 525 5808 C: 575 915 5755
Ben Rawson O: 575 525 5807 C: 575 6494153
Tell them that the transit service is rapidly growing and deserves continued funding in order to add service where it is needed in the unincorporated areas of the county and to connect all area transit providers into a robust, seamless, regional system. Continued use of a small portion of the county’s Hold Harmless GRT to support public transit will be beneficial to all of us who live in Doña Ana County—people will get to medical appointments, education, workforce training, and jobs. The money the SCRTD brings into the county will be spent in the county to hire drivers, pay for gas and repairs, print schedules, purchase uniforms, phones, and other equipment, and generally to contribute to the economic well being of the county.
It is the right approach to a critical public service and we need to keep it rolling. Hope to see you on May 9th.
Ridership Reaches New High
SCRTD is experiencing record ridership for April with over 2000 riders traveling on five routes throughout Dona Ana and Otero counties.
Service connections to El Paso’s Northgate and Westside Transit Centers has contributed to the growth as has installation of new bus stops, improved scheduling and marketing. Ads in the Camino Real newspaper has helped in expanding the reach of SCRTD communication to the communities of Dona Ana and El Paso counties.
Additional bus service is planned in the months ahead with additional trips on the Turquoise bus route and the initiation of new bus service to Hatch, NM via the new Green route.