Parish gears up for bus line

March 14, 2007 at 5:33 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

As St. Charles Parish nears the reality of a largely federally funded mass transit system that would run throughout the parish and into the farthest reaches of St. John, concerned residents have been asking what will happen in three years when the federal money allocated runs out?

A whopping $1.3 million has already been earmarked using federal grant money to be spent over the first three years with $125,000 committed by both St. Charles and St. John parishes.

Resident Kevin Friloux isn’t completely sold on the plan and has worries that after the first three years St. Charles might be left high and dry having invested money in a transit system that they wouldn’t be able to continue funding.

“It just doesn’t seem like a good idea for a rural parish such as St. Charles. There have been studies that show it isn’t,” Friloux said. “On top of that, where is the money going to come from after the first three years?”

Martha Cazaubon, a senior planner for the South Central Planning and Development Commission who are overseeing the project, said that while there is only the initial $1.3 million being fronted by the feds, there are a number of other grant programs that can be applied for to add additional federal funding where needed.

“Each year the transit properties put in a group request for what they need,” Cazaubon told the Herald Guide. “They can also apply for Congressional earmarks. Even though the money is only allocated now for the first three years, it doesn’t mean they won’t get federal funding after that.”

She noted that future funding will depend on many factors such as the approximate amount to fund the project, how well the parish receives and uses the transit system and demand.

“Without a history in the parish on a project like this, it’s hard to figure out exactly how much it will cost to run,” she said.

View other articles written Caleb Frey

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