MURRAY – Murray-Calloway Transit Authority Executive Director Rodney Skinner updated the board of directors Tuesday on a new round of funding the agency would soon be receiving, amounting to almost $200,000.
During Tuesday’s monthly board meeting, Skinner said the MCTA would be receiving funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSAA). According to the Federal Transit Administration, CRRSAA includes $14 billion to be allocated to support the transit industry during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“That’s a new pot of funding that became available mid-to-late January,” Skinner said. “Kentucky was awarded a little over $11 million for 5311 (Non-Urbanized [Rural] Area Program) transit agencies. OTD (Office of Transportation Delivery) will disburse that among all the transit agencies.”
Answering a question from Chair James Clinger, Skinner said the MCTA did not have to prepare a grant application to receive those funds. Skinner said that if there is a formula for deciding how much each transit agency in the state would get, he did not know it.
“So there’s nothing we can do except wait? Is that what you’re saying?” Clinger asked. “There’s nothing we can do to influence the amount of money we receive?”
“That’s correct. We cannot,” Skinner said. “It’s just shy of $200,000, is what we’re going to be getting. It’s 100% (with no matching funds required).”
Board member Charletter Ellis asked about the exact amount, and Skinner said that while he was working from home on Tuesday, he would check when he was back in his office. He said the amount was between $191,000 and $192,000, and that the funds could be used for any operating line item expense, including salaries.
Skinner added that he is currently preparing to apply for grant opportunities for Fiscal Year 2022. He also said auditors with Alexander Thompson Arnold told him they are finished with the FY 2020 audit, so they will be available to give the audit report during the scheduled March 16 board meeting.
As the MCTA awaits the arrival of five new vehicles it purchased with $228,020 in FTA funds, the agency is donating one of its older minivans, a blue Dodge Caravan, to the Calloway County Jail.
“I got approval (from OTD) for that last week,” Skinner said. “So once the weather clears and places open for me to go to the courthouse for me to do the paperwork and get the title out of our name, we will be donating a minivan to the jail.”
Skinner said he anticipated that the MCTA office would be closed for the rest of this week because of the winter weather, although drivers are still taking passengers to dialysis appointments. He said regular routes have been on hold since the ice storm hit last Wednesday.
“With today (Tuesday) being the best day of the week until the weekend – looking at the weather, it’s supposed to snow again (Wednesday) evening – and the way temperatures are, I don’t see road conditions getting very good. I’m speculating that’s what we’re going to do, just run life-sustaining (trips), which is dialysis and anybody we have receiving cancer treatments and that kind of thing.”
Skinner said he was hopeful that on-demand routes and normal operations could resume by the start of next week. If road conditions are still bad in some areas of the county, routes could potentially run only in the Murray city limits.
“If Murray State (is on a regular schedule), we’ll try to run the Gold Route,” he said. “As far as running the community routes, depending on road conditions, I would hope to run at least one, if not both of those.”
Skinner said at the end of the meeting that several MCTA drivers were still waiting to get COVID-19 vaccinations locally.
“Several of the drivers have taken it upon themselves to get them and have gotten on waiting lists,” he said. “Some have gone to Hopkinsville this week to get them and I think there’s a few more that were getting them here at the CFSB Center this week, some of the older drivers.”
Ellis asked if the MCTA was reimbursing the drivers who had been vaccinated out of town for mileage. Skinner said he could easily give those drivers a fuel card if the board wished, and board members agreed.