Island Transit budgets for headquarters in 2012
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
November 17, 2011 · 8:44 AM
A steady budget that includes several significant construction projects is scheduled to be approved Friday morning by the Island Transit board of directors.
Island Transit officials are currently proposing a $25.6 million budget for the year 2012, which is slightly less than the $26 million budgeted for the current year.
The public hearing takes place Friday, Nov. 18, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 131 of the county’s Law and Justice Center, 101, NE Sixth St. in Coupeville.
The transit agency, known for offering fare-free rides on its buses, has an $11.8 million operating budget and a $13.9 million capital budget. A nine-tenths of 1 percent sales tax, coupled with state rural transit grants, provide the bulk of Island Transit’s funding. The sales tax rate is the maximum allowable by law to fund transportation.
Martha Rose, executive director for Island Transit, said staff was conservative in budgeting, predicting $6.8 million in 2012 revenue, which is the same amount budgeted for 2011.
She noted several large construction projects are budgeted for next year.
The most significant part of Island Transit’s capital project budget is the new headquarters building, which is funded through federal grant dollars. Island Transit received nearly $18 million in funding officials have been lobbying for years to receive. That money will pay for a 51,000-square-foot building that includes new maintenance bays and a new administration center. Construction is scheduled to begin sometime in the next year.
In addition to the new headquarters, some dollars were included for a project to realign Parker Road intersection with Highway 20. Rose said the project includes building a small transit park that will include parking for vehicles and bikes along with a second access to Island Transit’s new headquarters facility. Island Transit is also planning a pedestrian underpass to allow safe passage over Highway 20 in the area; however, grant funding needs to be found first.
Island Transit also has money set aside for the installation of several new bus shelters and the purchase of new paratransit buses, and mid-sized buses.
Rose said Island Transit has the permits for the new headquarters in hand and the real work of building is about to begin.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.