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LeeTran closer to agency

Mar. 28, 2013

A special management committee would be made up of task force members. They include:
Glee Duffy of GoodWheels
Russell Schropp of Henderson Franklin law firm
Dr. Judith Hartner of the Lee County Health Department
Dan Moser of Bike Walk Lee
David Plummer of D. Plummer & Associates
Marjorie Starnes-Bilotti representing Edison State College
Don Scott representing Lee’s Metropolitan Planning Organization
Edd Weiner representing Lehigh Economic Development


Lee County’s transit task force Thursday made final preparations to move LeeTran one step closer to becoming its own government agency that levies taxes.

The Lee County Commission, which oversees public transit, will consider making the task force a special management committee with a goal to take LeeTran outside its oversight.

“We should be looking at ways to reduce government not ways to build it up,” Commissioner Larry Kiker said.” My biggest concern obviously is how much more money it’s going to cost us.”

Commissioners could be asked to vote on either April 16 or April 23.

Tuesday’s meeting was the most recent development in task force discussions and recommendations that date back more than two years, according to county documents.

Levying an additional sales tax of .5 percent to make LeeTran its own transit authority is among the committees’ longstanding ideas, LeeTran Marketing Director Joann Haley said.

About $10 million from Lee County’s general fund and another $10 million or so in ticket sales, gas taxes, state and federal funds subsidize LeeTran, as it stands now, Haley said.

Commissioner Tammy Hall said she doesn’t have an opinion on whether LeeTran should become an independent transit authority.

But Hall said she supports creating a special management committee to oversee the division and set the stage for independence.

“We want to set it up like at transit authority, but whether we will ever go to a transit authority I can’t answer that; I have no idea,” Hall said.

LeeTran operates 50 buses, 11 trolleys and 47 par transit vans. It employs 240, according to

LeeTran Director Steve Myers said it’s important to seek approval from officials in Lee’s five cities.

“I think that this committee believes that in order for that ultimate referendum to be successful you will need the support of the municipalities and gauge their support, before rushing into it head long,” Myers said.

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