San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 20th, 2012
City holding meeting on proposed urban transit district


The city of San Marcos will sponsor a public hearing on Thursday, June 21 seeking citizen comments on the creation of an urban transit district for the San Marcos area.

The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins in San Marcos. The San Marcos area, including the City of Martindale and portions of Hays, Caldwell and Guadalupe Counties, was designated as a “small urban area” following the 2010 census with a population of 52,826.

The designation qualifies the area to seek additional state and federal funding for transit services if the San Marcos chooses to set up an Urban Transit District.

Current services are provided by the Capital Area Rural Transportation System and will end in the San Marcos area on Oct. 1.

Elected officials representing local governments and stakeholders participated in a conference on May 24 to discuss the possible creation of an Urban Transit District to serve the San Marcos area.

The conference was chaired by San Marcos city council member Kim Porterfield. Conferees were Hays County Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe, Martindale Mayor Doyle Mosier, Guadalupe County Commissioner Kyle Kutscher and Caldwell County Commissioner Nieto Madrigal.

Barry Goodman and David Bartels of the Goodman Corporation presented an overview and the legal requirements under state law for rural and urban transit districts.

Participants included Dean Danos, executive director of the Alamo Area Council of Governments representing Guadalupe County; Dave Marsh, General Manager of CARTS; and Todd Hemmingson, Vice President of Strategic Planning for Capital Metro.

The transit district is not a taxing district and cannot collect taxes. The district would likely be administered by a board comprised of representatives of jurisdictions that fall within the urbanized area.

“Creating an Urban Transit District will help ensure that state and federal taxes paid by local citizens for public transportation are used here to build a reliable, frequent, responsive and cost effective service,” said Laurie Moyer, managing director of the city’s Community Services division.

The governing board would be able to apply for local, state and federal transit funds and keep local control over public transit services for the area.

A local district would also be able to address the needs for public transportation services, regional connectivity, and the needs of a growing senior citizen population.

A board would also be able to contract with government agencies or private corporations for planning and development of transportation services. Creating a district would require the city of San Marcos to establish a board and provide ongoing staff support.

If San Marcos chooses not to create an Urban Transit District, the area could ask CARTS to consider expanding its services to both Rural and Urban Transit Districts and increase its board to include representatives from the urbanized area. Hays and Caldwell each currently have a director on the board.

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