Council OK puts Silver Key over last transit funding hurdle

       With approval from Colorado Springs City Council Feb. 14, Silver Key Senior Services has financial clearance for an expanded specialized-transportation service that's funded in large part by $400,000 in new money from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) this year.
       The city portion, as it has been each of the past eight years, is $138,000, bringing Silver Key's local public funding total this year to $538,000.
       The council action was the final step in the Westside-based nonprofit agency's quest this winter to defray its transportation costs of about $1 million a year to provide 80,000 trips to seniors in its vans and buses. A federal stipend (about the same amount as the city's), plus private donations and optional rider payments, cover the rest of the costs.
       Silver Key CEO John Morse was pleased with the action, which underlines the RTA's previous approval. However, he pointed out that Silver Key - which is under mandate now to meet more stringent federal standards in its trip-reporting records - must continue meeting those standards in order to receive the public money on a monthly basis.
       Both RTA and the city OKs were needed because the regional bus service (Mountain Metropolitan Transit) is funded by the RTA and has a memorandum of understanding with the city. In receiving the extra money from the RTA, Silver Key has agreed to expand its service to some unincorporated county areas.
       Another issue for Silver Key is that it is not known if the RTA can come up with $400,000 again in 2007, Morse noted. The money this year was available from a one-time transit-funds carryover of $1.2 million from 2005.
       Silver Key supplements certain Mountain Metro specialized bus services by providing door-to-door trips for seniors to specific destinations, such as doctor's offices or shopping centers, with payment on a voluntary basis.

Westside Pioneer article