by Sam Hieb
Funny it doesn’t seem that long ago that the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation was in danger of folding the tent.
But apparently PART has new life, as evidenced by plans to press on with its new “intermodal transportation complex” tentatively scheduled to open in 2016:
The decision to go ahead with the new terminal came on a day the PART board received good news about the agency’s improved financial picture in the last fiscal year.
Results for the budget year ending June 30 showed PART operating more than $1 million in the black, with all expense categories under budget and a rainy day fund that has grown to about $4.7 million.
Board members hailed the financial turnaround that gained steam in the last year.
“At one time, we were notoriously in the negative,” said board member Darrell Frye, a veteran PART board member and a member of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners.
The good results depended partly on $275,000 more than expected from a surcharge on vehicle rentals that PART receives throughout the region, a source of income that has grown with the recovering economy. But they also followed belt-tightening and cuts to some services.
But before plans to proceed with the hub be construed as an indicator of PART’s financial health, keep in mind that the federal government is covering 80 percent of construction costs.