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Pahrump rural transit awaits decision on NDOT grant

The Pahrump Rural Transit, the town’s first on-demand transportation program, is awaiting the decision on the NDOT’s grant application that would provide it with much-needed cash.

While the program is counting on the state agency’s dollars, Albert Bass, its organizer, said officials will know the result by October. Most recently, the program’s officials had been busy satisfying NDOT’s additional requirements by the June 30 deadline.

“Additional documentation and information was requested by NDOT. It has been sent today,” Susan Holecheck, chair of the Nye County Regional Transportation Committee said on Wednesday.

The town of Pahrump agreed to sponsor and administer the grants for the Pahrump Rural Transit, but the program still lacks an owner. Nye County officials have been reluctant to accept responsibilities for the program.

Holecheck said the county has been hesitant because of the word “ownership.”

“I think they felt that ‘ownership’ would cause them to hire additional staff and incur additional admin costs,” she said. “The county, as you know, is being cautious about any additional expenditures. Ownership would not entail hiring county and/or town staff and we are hoping to soon be able to alleviate their concerns.”

Bass added that the owner would be “the conduit” between the grant provider and the contractor who is operating the program.

“This is very similar to how the county sponsors the grants for the senior center programs throughout the rest of the county,” he said.

Officials said the owner provides oversight and control of the program. The owner doesn’t have to employ anyone or operate it.

Bass said it would be preferable for the town of Pahrump or the Pahrump Regional Transportation Committee to agree to “own” the program.

“We have still yet to have either have interest in doing so,” he said.

Meanwhile, the program officials will work with the town of Pahrump and Nye County staff to have a more detailed description of the program’s design for the RTC and BOCC.

“We hope this will satisfy their questions and instill confidence in the program moving forward. If all goes well, the grant would be approved by October 2016. Then the real work of project implementation begins, which will be a three-to-six-month process. The committee hopes to begin serving the community by the beginning of 2017,” Bass said.

Bass said the VETrans program is already utilizing the Nevada Department of Veteran Services’ $50,000 grant for free veterans’ medical transportation.

The transportation program is designed to take veterans to their local medical appointments and for pharmaceutical pickups.

Those who need a ride can call Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to schedule a ride at 775-572-VETS (8387).

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