WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – As nearly all WRTA service in Trumbull County is slated to end on Friday, commissioners met on Thursday to keep working on a solution to fund the transit service.
Trumbull County commissioners discussed funding for the WRTA in Trumbull County at their Thursday meeting. All routes except the Warren Express will end on Friday. The reason? A state grant expired.
Those who live in the county expressed frustration. They will have to find new ways to get around.
“I’m one of the many Trumbull County residents that cannot drive that has relied on the WRTA bus service for two years for transportation,” said Trumbull County resident Donald Spencer.
The commissioners passed a resolution to apply for an additional Ohio Transit Partnership Program grant from the state, similar to the grant that was lost.
Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa opposed joining the WRTA, which would involve funding.
“I don’t think now is the current economic time to be doing that when people are paying more for groceries and everything’s going up,” Cantalamessa said.
Commissioner Niki Frenchko says the grant that was lost was always meant to be a temporary measure while the county made a more permanent funding decision.
“Trumbull County has known that we were going to be losing transportation for years and no one has done anything to plan. The commissioners have regularly early voted no on joining,” Frenchko said.
If commissioners do get this grant, it would take time to put routes back in place.
Cantalamessa says he supports using limited fixed routes, especially in Warren, and using the county’s door-to-door services for those who qualify for age or medical reasons.
“Here we have a very eclectic mix of city and rural areas here in Trumbull County, so trying to tailor make a transit system,” Cantalamessa said.
Frenchko says she supports bringing WRTA service to the county.
“They [voters] need to make that decision to vote on it,” Frenchko said.
Commissioners are working with the city of Warren to fund the grant application. It’s due by September 11.