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Monticello, Otsego, Hutchinson seeking service from Trailblazer

Trailblazer Transit has more opportunities to expand its service, the joint powers board heard at its Thursday morning meeting.
Jack Russek, who represents Wright County Area Transportation (WCAT) on the joint powers board, said that the cities of Monticello and Otsego want to join WCAT in order to get service from Trailblazer.
In addition, said Executive Director Gary Ludwig, the city of Hutchinson is looking to expand service within its city limits.
As to expanding service to the Wright County communities of Monticello and Ostego, Ludwig said it would probably be a two-year process at best, because it will mean getting approval from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to expand Trailblazer’s service area, plus the transit system would need more buses.
Sheldon Nies of McLeod County said he wants to make sure that Trailblazer fulfills its current service plan before expanding service.
“I would assume that all the routes we have now would be filled before we add a new route,” said Nies.
The current plan is for 29 schedules on the road. Twenty-two of those have been filled while the transit service is trying to hire additional drivers.
Nies also said that he hopes that expansion in Wright County doesn’t mean cuts in McLeod or Sibley counties.
“If it cuts back even one hour of service to our constituents here, I’m not in favor of it,” said Nies.
Russek said that Monticello and Ostego are aware they will not get full service right away.
“We told them not to expect full service now because we just can’t provide it,” said Russek.

For more, see the July 27 print edition of The Chronicle.