Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Transportation plan for Homer remains on track

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer

The dust is settling from legislative and borough budgets being shaken out, and it looks like Homer's public transportation plan will be moving forward.

The plan provides vouchers for subsidized $3 taxicab rides within the boundaries of Land's End; Redden Marine; the junction of East Hill, Skyline Drive and Diamond Ridge; the junction of West Hill and Diamond Ridge; and the Baycrest Fuel and C Store. It was developed by Homer Coordinated Transportation Project Committee, a group of local businesses, human service agencies and CARTS, the Central Area Rural Transit System Inc., as a way to expand transportation access in the lower Kenai Peninsula area.

Though Homer's system will depend on CARTS to administer funds, the money CARTS receives from the borough is only used in the central peninsula.

"The borough cutting CARTS' budget does not have any effect on the Homer area right now, but the perceptions that led to the assembly cutting the budget certainly do," CARTS Executive Director Jennifer Beckmann wrote in an email.

Beckmann has yet to see signed checks or contracts, but CARTS has been recommended for full funding of two state grants.

One is a matching grant of $17,200 for two ADA accessible minivans for the Homer area, for which CARTS already had 80 percent of necessary funds.

The other is the second of a two-year grant to provide $50,400 for purchase of services. That money is designated for the Homer Independent Living Center voucher program with Kachecab and Kostas Cab companies.

The system was scheduled to be running by this fall, and if no stop signs pop up, that's what will happen.

Lindsay Johnson can be reached at lindsay.johnson@homernews.com.