VCTC hearing brings limited
comment on transit needs

February 25, 2000
Santa Paula City Council
The public hearing on unmet transit needs garnered scant comment except from a councilwoman at the Feb. 7th City Council meeting. Public Works Director/City Engineer Norm Wilkinson noted that each year the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) conducts a hearing on unmet transit needs countywide. Such hearings are required to receive Transportation Development Act (TDA) funds used for road purposes; Santa Paula’s street maintenance program is funded by about half by the TDA program.“Unmet needs which are reasonable to meet must be met first,” noted Wilkinson. “This year, in an effort to improve the hearing’s outreach to the community, VCTC has asked the cities served by VISTA to voluntarily conduct supplemental hearings and to pass along the comments to VCTC.”Wilkinson noted that council remarks should mirror their concerns of transit services and/or needs in Ventura County and Santa Paula in particular.Councilwoman Laura Flores Espinosa said she sits on other boards and commissions that “deal with people that utilize public transportation,” and needs have surfaced that should be addressed.Espinosa said there are “three very prominent unknown needs,” including public transportation for teenagers to reach activities and part-time jobs.“Evening transportation to Ventura College,” to be able to take classes is another consideration for broadened use of public transit, Espinosa added.
Ventura County’s effort to get more people into the work force would also benefit through educational opportunities being easier to reach, she noted. “There is a child care training program at Oxnard College, but many women are finding it very difficult, the transition from city to city to get to their classes.”In need of more affordable public transit is the “working poor; in general the cost of the transit services and transfers seem to be higher than what minimum wage workers can afford,” said Espinosa.Wilkinson said Espinosa’s comments would be passed along to VCTC which will be holding a countywide public hearing later.The most used route in Ventura County is Highway 126; about 100,000 passengers a year use the bus service linking Fillmore, Santa Paula and Ventura.

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