Governing bodies partner to aid public transit funding

Staff reports

Portsmouth City Council and Scioto County Commissioners have teamed up to help Access Scioto County (ASC) public transit through a funding crisis this year, according to ASC coordinator Larry Mullins.

“Access Scioto County would like to thank Portsmouth City Council and the Scioto County Commissioners for working together to help fund the continued operation of ASC this year,” Mullins said.

Scioto County Commissioners released a statement this week thanking city council for its help, and acknowledging that “due to funding cuts at the state level, a shortfall of $120,000 developed for 2018.”

Through collaborative efforts by the two governing bodies, a funding formula was found that keeps “this very important transit system available at no additional cost to the citizens of Scioto County,” the commissioners’ statement said. “Larry Mullins and his team does a great job with this transit service.”

Mullins cited Councilman Kevin E. Johnson and Commissioner Bryan Davis for spearheading the effort to keep the transit system operating in 2018.

“In my 20 years as coordinator of ASC, we have only had to have financial help from the county twice, and never from the city. We (ASC) have strived hard not to be a financial burden on the county or city, and have been able to make it on our own,” Mullins said. “Unfortunately the state of Ohio has decided to change the county-based system for providing Medicaid-funded transportation for non-emergency medical appointments to a statewide, third-party ‘transportation broker’ system on July 1, 2018.”

The state change means the loss of $120,000 to $150,000 in operating revenue this year, and $250,000 to $300,000 in 2019, Mullins said.

“Even though we have been working to reduce our operating costs this past year, we were still facing a substantial shortfall,” Mullins added. “I greatly appreciate Portsmouth City Council and the Scioto County Commissioners coming together to help us through this funding crisis, and look forward to working with them and the citizens of our area for continued operation of ASC.”

ASC is the public transit system for Portsmouth and Scioto County, and provides service to those who cannot or choose not to drive. Hundreds of people of all ages and from all walks of life use ASC to travel to work, school, appointments, shopping and many other destinations.

For information about ASC, call Mullins at 740-353-5626 ext. 208.

Staff reports