November 24, 2014

Local task force ok’s new van purchase

Arenac Transit buying vehicle one year earlier than planned

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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OMER — The $274,000 allocated to the Arenac County Road Commission via the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) isn’t enough to move up the Turner Road rehabilitation project scheduled for 2010 to this year, but another agenda item, the purchase of a new van by Arenac Transit, also scheduled for 2010, was pushed up to this year at a local task force meeting on April 1.

The local task force meeting, held at the road commission compound in Omer, was attended by members of the road commission; as well as representatives from the cities of Standish and AuGres, the Village of Sterling, Arenac Transit and the Standish Department of Public Works. The local task force voted to approve the early purchase unanimously.

ACRC Superintendent/Manager Blair Dyer says although changes to projects on the 7B Regional Task Force five-year plan, which the van purchase is a part of, need to be approved by the regional task force made up of Arenac, Ogemaw, Iosco and Roscommon counties, he feels that since the vehicle purchase was already on the list, Arenac Transit shouldn’t meet any obstacles in buying a van early.

“The stimulus package (ARRA) is going to move a lot of things up as long as it’s on the list, and this (van purchase) is on the list,” Dyer said. “I think I can make it happen.”

Dave Marthaler, transportation director of Arenac Transit, said with the auto industry currently struggling to sell vehicles, the time is right for the van purchase.

“Right now prices are down, there’s a lot of incentives,” he said.

“He may be saving thousand of dollars,” Dyer added.

Marthaler says purchasing a transit van, which will most likely be a Ford, consistent with the current fleet, normally costs about $40,000 (cost listed on the regional task force’s five-year plan) due to custom features necessary for the county public transportation provider.

“You’re looking at a van that comes from Ford and then it’s converted to include a wheelchair lift and high top,” Marthaler said.

Dyer added even though he is confident the 7B Regional Task Force will approve a 2009 van purchase, he is still going to seek formal approval at an upcoming regional meeting.

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