Mass transit need in south Lewis County

The Lewis County Board of County Commissioners are working on a countywide transportation plan that will open up south Lewis County for transportation to Centralia and Chehalis along with providing services for east County. Currently Twin Transit only operates in the Centralia/Chehalis area. Lewis Mountain Transit currently operates in east Lewis County but there is nothing in the way of transportation for south Lewis County.

The Board of County Commissioners will be meeting with mayors of each municipality in the county to address county transportation on Friday, April 6 at 10:00 a.m. The goal of the meeting is to see which cities are interested in having mass transit available for their citizens. Lewis County Commissioner Bobby Jackson stated "We have an opportunity to get high school students in Running Start and to provide adequate transportation. We can help young adults with transportation to jobs and seniors with transportation to the twin cities."

Commissioner Jackson further stated, "A majority of the municipalities are on board." Each city will have the opportunity during Friday's meeting to "opt in" or "opt out." For the cities that opt in, a vote will be included in the ballots this fall. The vote is to increase sales tax roughly at one cent per $5. This is a tax for the future of our communities in Lewis County.

This program will be run by grants and sales tax contributions. Lewis Mountain Transit has been running for 20 years but recently the grant matches exceed what they can afford. Lewis Mountain Transit will be stopping their services in the next few years. The county looked at the success of Lewis Mountain Transit and Twin Transit. Commissioner Jackson stated, "Rather than stop what we see in east County, why not go to the entire county."

This is an opportunity to provide mass transit in an area where limited transportation is available.