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Decisions to be made about future of public transportation in Delano

Aug. 11, 2008

Public hearing Tuesday to discuss River Rider proposal

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

After hearing a proposal from River Rider for public transportation services in Delano, the city council decided to host a public information hearing Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. on the issue.

Chad Gessell, the transit director for River Rider, presented information to the council last Tuesday to provide public transportation in Delano.

In early 2008, the City of Delano chose to fund and operate the Delano Area Transportation Program by purchasing a wheelchair lift-equipped vehicle, and the program has been successfully operated through the Delano Senior Center.

Funds are available to expand transportation services in Wright County, and River Rider proposes to use those funds to provide public transportation service in Delano and parts of Franklin Township and Rockford. Funding would be split with 85 percent coming from Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and 15 percent would be funded locally.

“We believe it is the time for public transportation,” commented Senior Center Director Gail Sinkel, adding that to date, the senior center has operated a successful program, and she wants to ensure the same quality of service would be provided if the city decides to use River Rider for any transportation services.

Sinkel said she hopes the city’s transportation program could be used in some way to compliment River Rider.

Issues regarding control of the services, costs, as well as the quality of service were discussed. Gessell expressed confidence in his drivers, but admitted if the city chose to go with River Rider, it would lose control of the services as River Rider is governed by a joint powers board.

Following more discussion, Sinkel and the council agreed it would be good to have a public hearing on the issue.

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