Trolley Changes Looming

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The Transportation Planning Organization has asked local governments for an additional $100,000 to fund the Bay Town Trolley for the next year.
So far, Panama City Beach is the only city to agree, pitching in an additional $6,000.
That has sent the TPO back to the drawing board to find additional revenue in its existing budget.
TPO Chairman Rodney Friend says "We're gonna dig down deep, into the weeds and also do the transfer from West Florida over to the new planner so hopefully during that process, we can find some additional funding we can use to operate the trolley."
Mr. Friend, County Comissioners Bill Dozier and Pam Henderson are on that subcommittee.
They'll work with the new planner, First Transit, to identify possible cost-saving changes, including route changes or cuts.
Friend also says "I think the routes all...everything needs to be looked at. The good news here is we have a new planner and the planner is gonna come in with fresh eyes, fresh look and i think they'll look at all of the routes because obviously routes are revenue too."
The TPO also approved a contract this afternoon to buy the old county maintenance yard off East 9th St. to become the new home for the trolley system.
The sales price is about $718,000.
The move gives the trolley system room to answer all the needs from vehicle maintenance, to storage and administration.
First Transit will also be located on the grounds.
Bay County Commissioners are expected to approve the contract next week.
The sale should be finalized within 30-days.
TPO members also discussed the Florida Department of Transportation's plans to six lane Highway 390 from Highway 231 to 23rd St.
Survey crews are currently deciding what right-of-ways the state needs to buy but the state has not budgeted the money to buy the right-of-ways or pay for the widening.

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