NET Trans receives short-term funding

Published 9:26 am Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Residents that utilize the service of NET Trans will not see an interruption, for the time-being.
Emergency funding was approved on Friday, March 17, by the General Assembly to allow the transportation service to continue servicing the urbanized areas on Northeast Tennessee until June 30 – allowing local officials to come up with a long term solution for future funding.
In an announcement made from the Tennessee House of Representatives Friday, it was stated that Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough), Rep. Micah Van Huss (R–Gray) along with Rep. Bud Hulsey (R–Kingsport) and State Sen. Rusty Crowe were able to secure the funding necessary to allow Tennessee resident to continue their daily transportation needs.
NET Trans originally announced that services for urbanized areas of Northeast Tennessee would no longer occur for urban-to-urban travel effective April 1 due to funding being pulled for urbanized travel.
With Friday’s decision, local lawmakers were able to push the deadline for urban communities to June 30 to allow transit providers to find ways for funding.
“It’s a great thing,” Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey said. “Right now, residents are able to continue their daily travels.”
Elizabethton and Hampton fall into the classification of the Johnson City urbanized area following the most recent data provided by the U.S. Census.
NET Trans is the rural transportation provider for Northeast Tennessee and learned from a recent TDOT audit that the organization was providing travel to urbanized areas. The decision caused NET Trans to announce they could no longer due service urbanized areas and provided urban-to-urban travel.
Steps are being made, according to Humphrey. Local leaders met Friday in Johnson City to address the issue and decided to set a date for a meeting to come up with solutions for funding.
The executive board and staff of the Johnson City Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MPO) will meet Monday, March 27, at 11 a.m. inside the Training Room at the Johnson City Transit City, located on West Market Street, with the public invited to attend.
The board will consider a resolution in support of allowing the First Tennessee Human Resource Agency’s Executive Director to apply to the Federal Transit Administration to become a direct of 5307 Federal Transit funding for the Johnson City Urbanized Area.
It’s an important first step, according to Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey, to help establish a withstanding goal for the organization.
“It’s very important,” he said. “This is a service that’s used for Carter, Washington, Sullivan and Unicoi counties and we don’t want to see anybody affected by this in the long term.

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