By Paul Gable
The Select Committee on Coast RTA voted unanimously to recommend to county council that funding of the bus agency be continued with additional controls.
That decision was made at the committee’s fourth and final meeting Monday night. The recommendation was adopted by committee members along with 20 findings of fact about the failed shelter project and suspended intermodal center project.
Failure, especially of the shelter project, falls predominantly on poor program management at Coast RTA with some blame also attributed to the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study (GSATS) and SCDOT, according to the findings.
The funding recommendation is key to the future of Coast RTA as a viable entity. Horry County provides the second largest amount of grant funds to the agency ($1.055 million per year), following only the federal government’s contribution.
Without the county’s funding, the agency would lose a matching amount from the federal government, thereby reducing the agency’s overall revenue by approximately 37% in the coming fiscal year.
A 2010 countywide advisory referendum resulted in 62.5% of Horry County voters supporting funding Coast RTA in the amount of 0.6 mills per year. But, that was before this second management meltdown in 10 years at Coast RTA with SCDOT putting the agency on “high risk” status three years ago.
Select Committee chairman Marion Foxworth will present the findings and conclusion to county council at its May 13, 2014 budget retreat.