Properly Funding Coast RTA

December 2, 2013 7:00 AMViews: 798

By Paul Gable

Local funding for Coast RTA has been a topic of discussion, sometimes heated, for over a year.

The desire of Horry County Council to have more membership on the Coast RTA board almost cost the authority one-fourth of its funding from the county in the current fiscal year.

We are hearing a move may be made by some council members to substantially cut Horry County funding to Coast RTA in the 2014-15 fiscal year budget currently in its early stages of consideration by the county.

What the county and other local government bodies should consider is these cuts cost services to real people.

Lack of funding caused Coast RTA recently to cut a service called CATS Plus, which served the elderly, the poor and the infirm.

CATS Plus provided rides around the county for non-ambulatory citizens, especially the elderly and disabled, who live more than one-quarter mile away from regular Coast RTA routes.

Coast RTA general manager Myers Rollins said the program could be fully funded for $250,000 per year, providing transportation to those, especially in the rural areas of the county, who need it most.

To put that amount of funding in perspective, it is less than half what the county provided to WestJet to fly empty seats to Myrtle Beach International Airport. It is less than one-third the amount the Horry County Solid Waste Authority spent on lobbying in Columbia and it is one-tenth the amount the county, at the urging of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, provided to AvCraft in a third round of give-aways to that job producing challenged company.

If it is so easy to give away public money for such spurious reasons, why is it so difficult to provide a fraction of those amounts to fund a program that will help real county citizens?

I know the elderly, poor and infirm are not constituencies much thought about in Horry County. Those who benefit from Coast RTA transportation programs probably don’t bring many votes to the ballot box.

But, that’s no reason to ignore their needs when public money is so lavishly spread around in other areas that benefit no one other than possibly a select, special interest few!

 

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6 Comments

  • james g. wiles

    I’m aware of the checkered past of Coast RTA (I believe no part of that old leadership survives in the current roster, however), but I must say they serve a vital function.
    This year, I’ve ridden Coast RTA on a regular basis, including from MB to Conway, and from MB to MI. I’ve found their service to be on-time, reliable, pleasant and professional. I recommend it to everyone!
    Nevertheless, I do have a caveat. Bearing in mind that (a) one aspect of this transportation service is, in effect, a social welfare program for the indigent, and that (b) the lack of the necessary population density in Coast RTA’s service area makes running mass transit here on a profitable basis impossible, I have been struck by Coast RTA’s pricing.
    As a senior, I can take my bike and myself from MB to Conway or from MB to MI (or Georgetown) for 75 cents. Same service for under-55’s is $1.25. This seems wildly low, in light of the price of gasoline and other factors.
    Of course, I have no comparables – and all of my experience has been in high-density, urban areas.
    Nevertheless: perhaps, in addition to restructuring Coast RTA’s board to insure County control and to reflect County funding of Coast RTA, perhaps the County could usefully look as well at fare prices.

  • I never side with an argument that wants to try to show what is done on something else so why can’t we do it here. i.e. doesn’t matter what is spent elsewhere, that is no reason to say we dump money in to a program that has been full of politics, full of scams, full of fraud and really only serves a few people.

  • How much GRAFT did the Horry County Politicians take from WEST JET?

    It seems they are only concerned about the rich and powerful. If they

    could visit any other great and up-and-coming cities then they would

    realize how much GOOD county-wide public transportation helps

    the local economy and how it helps reduce vehicle traffic and allows

    visitors and residents to get to designations at a fair price and on time.

    The Coast RTA is always on time and there seems to be ample ridership.

    I suppose the present ridership is not rich enough or know enough people

    to help in improving this vital service.

  • I feel that everytime we turn around Coast RTA wants money, they just recently they got a block grant and the final quarter, I am one of the 40 passengers that no longer have a ride, this company left us stranded they have no remorse, they are trying to say that is is town council’s fault, they did not use the money wisely and now we are suffering, I feel it’s time for a new General Manager and office staff, the drivers are wonderful people who deserve to keep their jobs, I feel we need the service, but not these people who are running it. I trusted these people and they lied about alot of things. Find out the truth. It is not Gary Loftus or Towncouncil fault. do not vote for this man to handle any more money because it will not benefit the people who need it. They continue to operate the free shuttle in Myrtle Beach, but nothing for the people who need it . How do they have money to operate the free shuttle, and remodel their office . I am praying for the people who need it.

  • I am one of the 40 passengers that no longer can ride the Cat Plus program, this is very sad, not only for me, but the other passengers as well this has left people stranded and they need to go to the doctor. There are people suffering with kidney diease that need to get their dialysis treatment, their are people with cancer that need their treatment also, How do you tell these people there are no funds for you to ride the bus, if they do not go to the doctor this could be fatal. How do the people who are blind wait at the bus stop, they could get hit by a car. We can’t afford the cab, and there is no lift for the people who need to sit in a wheel chair. I feel that was such a bad decision made by Coast RTA, this hurt us so badly, Coast RTA was giving a block grant not long ago, and they received the final quarter, where did this money go ? I can’t understand how can they afford to operate the free shuttle service for the tourist at Myrtle Beach SC, but they say they are broke, how can they afford the remodeling they did to the building they operate from. Now they want more money, they kept saying that council was prejuidice, how do they expect council to want to give them any money?This really made them look bad, now council doesn’t want to give them any money. With just the money that the government gives them they wont have enough to pay their own salaries because he higher rank person makes about or over 100,000 a year, so that means lay offs for them, they made the public mad , so no more block grants. For the council members the people vote and they are who keep you in office , the people who have lost their ride on the bus have family and friends too, lets see how many votes you lose because of this. This is a very bad decision for all .

  • Its times like these you see people’s true colors, and who they really are, and what they stand for, I am proud to say I am a Christian. I know to take people’s transportation away is not in God’s plan. I know this is wrong, and I know this will work out in God’s timing and his planning, cause it sure has become a mess, and this has hurt so many innocent people in the process, once again about pride, and money, and popularity. all of these are the devil’s ways. This was supposed to be about the people in need of transportation, and helping. Some how it became about how much people are making, and name calling and pride, and politcs, and egos, while all this is taking place we are still without transportation. But God speaks of these times, and I know God is watching, God see’s all, hears all and knows all. What we down here we have to answer for to God one day, and that day may be sooner than you think . God bless all. Happy Holidays

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