County awards public transit $10K

COLUMBIA CITY — Earlier this week, county government officials OK’d a monetary allocation for the county’s public transportation system — the amount just wasn’t as much as was requested.Jackie Hake, executive director of Whitley County Transit asked the county’s board of commissioners and county council for $20,000.What she got was half that amount.Hake was before both panels asking for her organization’s annual allotment of money from the County Economic Development Income Tax — an infusion of $20,000 as part of a local match with the Indiana Department of Transportation.Hake told both boards that INDOT provides funds, but expects the local government to pay up as well.“They highly think that if they’re backing us, why shouldn’t the county,” she said.Hake said the funds help support her growing program as it begins its fifth year of public transportation.Hake reports the program, which is a branch of the Whitley County Council on Aging, cost $306,847 in 2010.She said a combination of 198,463 passenger miles were driven with 18,544 gallons of fuel consumed 21,931 total trips delivered.Hake said the program began in January of 2007 and provides transportation for senior citizens, disabled persons and children who need rides to daycare, Head Start and kindergarten.“We are grateful to receive all those funds from the state and federal (governments),” she said.