Road Runner: Solution may be at hand for Sun Van fare hike issue

2013-10-28T00:00:00Z 2013-10-30T15:04:18Z Road Runner: Solution may be at hand for Sun Van fare hike issueBy Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Even though your regular Road Runner is on the road this week, there are a couple of interesting transportation items to pass on in his absence — namely, the city might have a solution to that sticky Sun Van fare problem, and the promise to patch some of those crumbling city streets is moving along.

Earlier this year, the city toyed with the idea of raising Sun Van fares from $1 per trip to $3. Sun Van serves disabled riders.

But after a parade of Sun Van’s riders shared their heart-rending stories of how the fare increases would hurt them, the City Council scrapped the idea.

While the decision gave riders a reprieve, the city still had to find a way to stop the paratransit service from bleeding money from city coffers.

Sun Van costs $16 million a year to operate, and it recovers only about 5 percent of that cost in fares.

In stepped state Rep. Ethan Orr, who suggested the city apply to a reimbursement program offered by the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Orr did the legwork and determined the city already prequalified. All it would need to do was provide some first-aid training to its drivers and a few other minor things and the city could start reaping just over $18 in state money for each round trip.

Orr estimated it could fetch the city an extra $1.5 million to $2 million a year.

As a bonus, riders won’t have to pay fares anymore since the cost is included in the reimbursement.

City officials were persuaded to look into the matter, and their findings will come before the City Council Nov. 6

The affable state rep considered brokering this resolution as one of his finest hours as a pol. “I’m more proud of this fix than anything else I’ve done as a representative,” Orr said. “This is why I got involved in (politics), to help people.”

The fog rolls in

Now, about those streets. Starting this week, a contractor working for the city will begin a fog-seal program associated with the voter-approved $100 million, five-year street bond program — Road Recovery.

Fog sealing is the application of a thin layer of asphalt emulsion that helps cover small roadway imperfections, cracks or other small voids and seals the existing asphalt to preserve and protect the roadway.

Crews will be working from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, to minimize traffic disruption. While the work will require closing some travel lanes, at least one lane of travel will be maintained in both directions. Still, delays can be expected.

Business access will be maintained at all times.

The schedule for the next two weeks calls for work to be done:

Today and Tuesday: North Craycroft Road from East Glenn Street to Grant Road and Grant from North Beverly Avenue to Craycroft.

Tuesday through Thursday : East Golf Links Road from Aviation Parkway to South Craycroft Road

Sunday through Nov. 7: East Broadway from Craycroft to Wilmot Road and South Wilmot from Broadway to East Park Place Drive.

Your regular Road Runner, who has the answers to many readers’ questions and more, will be back next Monday.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com. Follow on Twitter @DarrenDaRonco

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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