FTA extends deadline for Trumbull Transit

Transit board looks to add two members

WARREN — The Federal Transit Administration extended the deadline the Trumbull County Transit Board has to provide the office with information it is requesting under the threat of pulling federal funding for the public system.

The FTA approved a request made last week for an extension, said Mike Salamone, Trumbull County’s transit administrator. The information requested April 1 was initially due Monday, but the FTA is giving Salamone until April 24 to get the board’s responses together, Salamone said.

Salamone said he believes he has everything the FTA wants to see, but he is still working on compiling some of the items. If there is anything he is missing, he will provide the FTA with a written explanation, he said.

The regional administrator of the FTA sent Robert Faulkner, board chairman, a letter at the beginning of the month, requesting the board answer lingering compliance questions and requested documentation from previous FTA reviews and site visits. The letter states the items have been requested before but haven’t been provided, despite time extensions, allowances for administrator turnover and follow-up requests.

But transit board members, Salamone and the former transit administrator said most of what the FTA requested has been turned in to the agency or hadn’t yet been asked for.

If the FTA doesn’t receive the information, “the FTA will conclude that TCTB has failed to comply with federal requirements and FTA action is necessary to protect federal interests,” including temporarily withholding federal funds, wholly or partially terminating a federal award and “other similar” measures, the letter states.

The FTA wants full financial account records of Community Bus Services’ invoice charges for the 2016-18 calendar years, assurances fare money being collected is being handled to their standards, confirmation CBS met contract performance standards, written documentation “demonstrating the appropriateness of TCTB’s staffing levels, to also include the confirmation of completed education and / or training that demonstrates proficiency of TCTB’s technical capacity,” the board’s conflict of interest policy and proof the board corrected items the FTA outlined after visits and phone calls in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the letter states.

Some of the information requested is a result of the 2016 triennial review of 2013-2015 operations, while some is information requested for the 2016-2018 reporting period for the next triennial review.

Members of the board at a special meeting Thursday voted to retain the services of Steve Diaz, an attorney specializing in transit issues, at a rate of $250 per hour, only if the FTA didn’t approve the time extension.