LYNX BRIEFS LEAGUE ON NEED FOR FUNDING
ORLANDO -- Finding ways that LYNX can better serve Central Floridians as they travel between home and work was the focus of a meeting between the head of the transit service and members of the Orange County League of Women Voters.
The League’s Transportation Committee is evaluating how to seek community input in order to improve transportation options in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties and ensure adequate funding.
“I do believe we can make this happen -- this has to happen,” Transportation Committee Chair Deirdre Macnab told LYNX leaders Monday (March 28) after a two-hour evening meeting at the agency’s downtown headquarters. “But first there is a lot of work to do. We need more fact finding to find out what the community wants.”
Susan Black, Lynx’s interim chief executive officer/general manager and her staff, gave League members a detailed presentation, pointing out that LYNX provides about 100,000 trips a day, 22.5 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 years. LYNX receives funding from Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties, the City of Orlando and federal and state governments.
She stressed that transportation plays an important supporting role in the region’s prosperity. “Communities that had access to transportation fared better in the recession.”
Macnab said committee members believe in LYNX and want it to be an integral part of SunRail but the next step is to get local input and then long-term funding.
Black said LYNX was unable to do long-term planning because they operate on a one-year budget, making it impossible to plan five, 10 or 20 years ahead. LYNX officials said transportation is a major consideration when firms are seeking to relocate or locate their businesses.
“They want easy access to jobs. It is a quality of life issue,” said Black, praising SunRail.
League member Charley Williams pointed out that LYNX is the largest transportation system in the country without dedicated funding.
“Unless something drastic changes nothing will be done,” said League member Fran Pignone, a former Orange County Commissioner.
Joanie Schirm said now was a “good opportunity for the Orange League to play an active role in LYNX’s future.
Black said the League was the “perfect group of people” to start educating the public so “Let’s keep talking and see what we can do.”
“What we got tonight is a lot of information,” Macnab said. “It will be a long journey but we have the braintrust here to make this work.”
Submitted by Ann Hellmuth