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Silver Belt | Gila County Supervisors vote to form public transportation authority

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On May 9, the Gila County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution establishing a county-wide Intergovernmental Public Transit Authority (IPTA). The IPTA is the agency recommended for establishment in the 2021 Transportation Governance Survey conducted for the Central Arizona State Council of Government.

Six municipalities — Grove, Miami, Payson, Star Valley, Hayden and Winkelman — have petitioned the Oversight Board to establish an IPTA to oversee public transportation. The IPTA currently includes Copper Mountain Transit, operated by the City of Miami, and Beeline Bus, operated by the City of Miami. Town of Payson. IPTA’s boundaries include the unincorporated areas within these municipalities and counties. The city of San Carlos refused, wanting to continue operating its own transportation system.

“The idea here is to consolidate the northern and southern Gila county transit systems into one system,” assistant county manager Michael O’Driscoll told the board. “Having created this authority, the next step would be to work on creating an IGA[Intergovernmental Agreement]between the municipality and Gila County.”

A guiding principle of the IPTA is “Maximize Opportunities for Federal, State, Regional and Local Funds”.I’m here.” “seek to find alternative and/or non-traditional sources of income to support/enhance our services”, and “seek to maximize cost-effectiveness, quality of service and operational efficiency”. Funding is dependent on Federal Transportation Administration grants and donations from member states.

Once the IPTA Board is established, it will have five to nine members. One is appointed by the county and the rest are elected by participating towns and cities. Due to lack of transportation, Hayden and Winkelman are non-voting members.

At its May 9 meeting, the Supervisory Board also held public hearings on transport authorities. The only comment came from Paysontown manager Troy Smith, who supported its establishment. “Establishing any of these will take time, but we have been working hard behind the scenes to build the governance structure,” Smith said. He added that the town took over Beeline Bus. [from the Payson Senior Center on Jan. 1, 2023] “We have the idea that this IPTA will be established and will eventually take over the operation of all transport services, including Beeline Buses, in the near future.”

On December 13, 2022, Grove City Council approved a petition to the Oversight Board to create and become a member of the IPTA. At the meeting, city manager Paul Jepson said the goal was to reduce costs and make transportation more affordable. Jepson added that it would take about two years to transition from the current process to IPTA.

In Miami, IPTA courses were not running so smoothly, and some town council members were concerned about losing control of the Copper Mountain Transit. At its January 23, 2023 meeting, the Council voted 4 to 3 against sending the petition to the Oversight Board. After further discussion and it became clear that the authorities would proceed with or without Miami’s membership, competing with the town for transportation funding, the city council voted on February 1 to reconsider the issue. . A petition was sent and a motion to join the IPTA Board was subsequently submitted. Passed by a vote of 5 to 2.

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