Trailblazer Joint Powers Board considers proposed ’13 budget

The Trailblazer Transit Joint Powers Board had a look at the preliminary 2013 budget Thursday morning, but with a caution from Director Gary Ludwig — it could change based on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) own budget.
“Trailblazer will finalize its budget after MnDOT establishes its funding levels,” said Ludwig.
MnDOT provides funding of up to 80 percent for two of Trailblazer’s programs.
Trailblazer offers another service on its own, which is totally locally funded, called “SMART Ride,” which Ludwig said provides service outside the MnDOT-funded service area (McLeod and Sibley counties and one-mile beyond their borders), as well as rides outside of normal operating hours.
The SMART program uses volunteer drivers and staffed vans. An example of a SMART ride, Ludwig said, would be to take a resident to a Twin Cities hospital, or for Saturday or Sunday service.
For 2013, Trailblazer will ask for $2 million for its MnDOT-support programs, which comprises the majority of Trailblazer’s service. At an 80 percent funding level, MnDOT would provide $1.6 million toward those programs, if MnDOT approves the requested amount.
In 2012, MnDOT provided Trailblazer with $1.2 million in funding.
For the complete article, see this week's Chronicle.