Okaloosa County is asking for Funding from Cities for Transit System

Okaloosa County spends close to $250,000 a year to fund the county's transit system.

Tuesday evening, Commissioners decided to ask local cities for some financial help.

They say a small population and a low ridership has created a money losing operation.

"The pick-up stops or the routes that are working the best, that will be easier for those cities to jump in and fund a smaller balance,” said Chairman Kelly Windes. “But the places like the north end of the county, where historically have had trouble making the numbers work, that will be a tougher sale for them to jump in."

This isn't the first time County Commissioners have faced this issue.

But it is the first time they have asked the cities for help.

City leaders from Destin and Fort Walton Beach were the only ones to comment on the request.

Destin officials believe the transit system is beneficial, and say they'll work with everyone involved.

Fort Walton Beach, which is home to most transit riders, says it will give money, but wants a say in how it's spent.

"For example how the routes are laid out, where the stops are put, marketing and things like that,” said Fort Walton Beach City Manager Michael Beedie. “We don't want to just give the county money without any say."

Windes says the county is hoping all nine cities will collaborate to keep the bus system rolling.


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