The Payson Town Council has authorized a Phoenix firm to begin a public transit feasibility study.
At a May 6 special meeting, the council voted unanimously, with mayor Ken Murphy and counselor Bryan Siverson not in attendance, to have Lima and Associates begin the almost $70,000 study that could result in the development of a town transportation system.
The Arizona Department of Transportation has agreed to assist in funding the Lima study.
A local transit could take on many forms. It could be a fixed route system similar to bus lines in the valley, a dial-a-ride service or a route deviation in which transit stops and runs are determined by daily demands.
One of the goals of Lima will be to discover which type of system best fits the needs of residents.
According to Lima's agreement with the town, the firm will also help acquire the government funding needed to insure a transit operation is successful.
Sources could include Federal Transit Administration funds for rural service and other funds for seniors and the handicapped. State sources could include the Local Transportation Assistance Fund. Local possibilities include the Town General Fund.
Also, revenue could be acquired through advertising on buses and in transit publications, private funding partnerships, sponsorships in return for blocks of tickets and fare boxes in the vehicles.
Lima's first task will be to establish a planning team that will include representatives from the town, state, Main Street Program, senior citizens and major local employers.
When the team is in place, an open house will be held to obtain public comment on transit related issues.
Next, Lima will develop service options and an implementation plan.
Finally, public meetings will be held to review existing conditions and discuss potential solutions.
Lima's final reports are expected to be completed by November.
According to Town Manager Fred Carpenter, Lima was selected from a group of five firms that bid because the company had extensive experience in public transit matters.
Lima is currently involved in public transit studies in the Village of Oak Creek, Queen Creek and LaPaz County.