Mountain Line asks for levy support

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — “First, Vote for Mountain Line – It’s Critical” is the slogan transit leaders in Monongalia County are spreading ahead of the May 10 primary.

“I don’t want May 11 to roll around and people to say, Wow I didn’t know it was that important. I should’ve gone to vote,” explained Mountain Line Transit Authority General Manager David Bruffy. “I want them to know that before May 10 to please go vote and show your support for our community through a vote for Mountain Line.”

The transit authority has one of six levies on the ballot to supplement funding following budget cuts.

When the Monongalia County Commission, thanks to dwindling coal tax revenue, cut its $400,000 contribution to the transit authority, Bruffy said his budget was cut by 10 percent.

Without the projected $9 million dollars generated by a 5-year levy, the transit leader said Mountain Line will have to cut at least 6,000 service hours.

“That means there will be no bus service to places like Summer School Road, the Kingwood Pike, on the Grafton Road near Halleck and Triune, Route 73 River Road, Fairmont Road, Opekiska, Cassville and there won’t be service to University High School. You’re talking about a big impact on our community,” warned Bruffy.

The Mountain Line budget is supplemented by a $350,000 contribution from the City of Morgantown, a nearly $1 million contract with WVU, contracts with West Run apartments and Senior Monongalians and $1.8 million in federal funding for equipment and specific programming.

If voters approve the Monongalia County Urban Mass Transportation Authority Levy, it will bring in an estimated $1.8 million dollars each year.

“It is 2.2 cents per hundred dollars assessed value. If you have a home worth about $160,000, you’re assessed value is going to be $100,000,” Bruffy explained. “It’s going to cost you $22 a year or a little less than $2.00 a month to support transit.”

With 35 vehicles, 45 drivers and their own mechanics, Bruffy said Mountain Line Transit Authority still left 7,000 potential riders at the curb last year.

Those who don’t ride still benefit from the bus service, maintained Bruffy, from cutting down congestion in high traffic areas to giving employees a way to work across the county.

“The service between Evansdale Campus and Downtown Campus has more than 350,000 rides a year. Would you really want that on University Avenue and Beechurst?” he questioned. “Who’s going to be at your checkout clerk? Who’s going to be your stock person? Who’s going to do those jobs if they don’t have a way to get to work?”

Mountain Line Transit Authority began in 1996. According to Bruffy, ridership has grown annually by 20 percent.

Seven people serve as board members for the authority. Three are appointed by the county commission. Three are appointed by city council. A seventh board member is a joint appointment of a WVU representative.