NC: Transit Officials Unsure of What Future Holds

Jan. 23--Members of the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, which operates as Wave Transit, tried Thursday to prepare for a meeting with Wilmington and New Hanover officials scheduled for next week.

But they're not 100 percent sure what to expect.

The meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30, is a chance for all three entities to come together and discuss the details of a new interlocal agreement between the organizations.

While discussions about the agreement started in October, Wave Executive Director Albert Eby told authority members that he's unsure what direction the conversation will go.

"I'm not sure what the expectations are," Eby said.

In fiscal year 2013-2014, the county contributed $140,000 to Wave -- a decrease from the $250,000 they gave the year before.

In comparison, the city gave more than $1 million in fiscal year 2012-2013.

Wave Transit is the region's public transportation entity that oversees bus and trolley routes in the area and provides shuttle services for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Last week, the New Hanover County Commissioners met and discussed some of the finer points they want listed in the agreement, including how much they contribute to the transit authority and what involvement they have in projects and expansion discussions.

Chairman Woody White expanded the conversation and criticized Wave officials for not doing enough to change the public's preferred methods of transportation.

During Thursday's meeting, however, Eby questioned if authority members have the charge of changing the public's mindset.

Authority member Kevin O'Grady, who also is a member of Wilmington City Council, said he hopes the discussion is more about the principles of the transportation authority and less about the details.

"The three groups haven't sat down and decided what the principals are yet," he said, adding he thinks the county's level of discussion is too far ahead.

But County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said New Hanover officials are asking for more details because they're looking to expand their involvement in Wave beyond simple funding.

"Our board is getting more involved and by getting more involved we need to ask more questions," he said. "The city's been involved with this for quite a while at this level."

Caitlin Dineen: 343-2339

On Twitter: @CaitlinDineen

Copyright 2014 - Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.

Loading