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Taxpayer Support of Mountain Line Levy Remains a Smart Investment

In a letter to the editor published in the Dominion Post on May 1, 2022, a suggestion about local transit options to maximize efficiency and usage by way of more agile alternatives to buses was offered, which makes sense. A lot of this is in progress already as was outlined in a news article published subsequently by the Dominion Post. There are other aspects to consider, with which the public may not be aware, that would be helpful to present for information and consideration.

Monongalia taxpayers, businesses, and residents are enjoying the benefits of the tax levy by expanded routes with more dedicated service in high-traffic areas. In fact, Mountain Line’s levy tax pass ridership program, whereby taxpayers can get a bus pass for every $1,000 of taxes assessed and paid, hit a new high in May 2022, with 471 passes issued to taxpayers that sustained 5,314 rider trips over the course of the month.

In the first five months of the calendar year, through May 2022, Mountain Line’s high school pass program has enabled 1,495 rides for local youth who may not yet have access to their drivers licenses, or vehicles to travel where needed. And, if those rides don’t seem important, consider the unfilled job opportunities and further economic impacts our community might feel by lack of access to public transportation.

A thriving community benefits from a variety and mixture of transit options, and Mountain Line is currently innovating to partner with Uber as part of a six-month trial in the south Morgantown (WV House of Delegates District 78) area. The program, called RideMon and available via the Uber app, allows people to request one of our smaller transit vehicles within the test area for the cost of a bus ride, and if you have a levy pass that cost is waived.

With a successful pilot, Monongalia County residents should expect expanded service options like this elsewhere. The result may well be improvements to those critical first-mile, last-mile transportation challenges. Public transportation often serves a vital role to connect high-traffic, low property value areas that may otherwise sit idle and vacant, and generate limited or reduced tax revenues.

Our buses travel outside Monongalia County because an effective transit system features points of interconnection. Services like the Grey Line, which connect with Pittsburgh Union Station for bus and rail, and Pittsburgh International for air service, serve citizens and visitors beyond what’s available at Morgantown Airport. These transit options are more affordable for anyone seeking to maximize their time and avoid traffic and parking hassles. Grey Line is one of the main avenues by which West Virginia University students, and the campus community is served. This reduces the number of cars that need to be parked in local communities beyond campus, and those that may otherwise be on the road.

Mountain Line board meetings are open to the public and the data which has been outlined here and more is openly discussed. Information is also presented and discussed at Mountain Line Citizen Advisory Committee meetings. Anyone who’s interested in improving transportation for Monongalia County is welcome to participate and serve. As an example of Mountain Line’s support to create a transit service that serves our community well, the board unanimously appointed a local taxi service operator to our Citizens Advisory Committee.

As two of your representatives on the Mountain Line board appointed by the Monongalia County Commission, feedback from everyone is welcomed. Board meetings are typically held the second Wednesday of each month, in person at noon, at the terminal office at 420 Dupont Road, Westover, WV, and online by way of Zoom/call-in. Visit to get more information about upcoming meetings and opportunities to give input.

The pandemic affected transit ridership in Monongalia County, and our community’s services are being rebuilt and restored in ways that reflect our current, new reality. Any suggestion to ditch Mountain Line’s levy isn’t sound though: To be clear, it’s a path backwards to worsened gridlock in our community. The public may not realize, but levy tax money replaces general funding our county commission previously provided by way of coal severance tax revenues until June 2016, and offers more as a result. To abandon the levy could reduce the system to a fraction of its current footprint, creating a system that potentially focuses on services to our inner urban core: Morgantown and the WVU campus areas, entities that both support and contribute directly to funding our transit system.

It’s reassuring to know the letter writer isn’t opposed to public transit. Given current record-high gas prices as we each look for ways to save money, everyone should take a moment to assess the cost of our daily trips, and consider how alternatives to our personal vehicles may be better in a myriad of ways. Transit programs like RideMon via Uber, the levy tax program, and other service options make daily, routine tasks, like getting to the grocery store, easier and more accessible for our citizens, especially those who can least afford inflationary price hikes in all areas of our society. Since the inception of consolidated city-county transit services, some 25 years ago, the price to ride—$0.75—has remained the same as a commitment to service to our community.

Citizens, take note: You’re invited to try our local transit system—and ride all local routes complimentary—starting on West Virginia Day, Monday, June 20 running through Sunday, June 26. Free yourself of the current record-high gas prices and save on your bottom line. Try riding with us on Mountain Line and experience an enjoyable difference for a change. Thanks to the levy, Mountain Line has become an essential contributor to the quality of life and economic vitality of Monongalia County.

Terri Cutright, Secretary & Wes Nugent, Treasurer
Monongalia County Urban Mass Transit Authority

Appointees of the Monongalia County Commission

Note: Mountain Line strives to be accessible, and data and information contained in board member packets may not be suitable to republish online. Data and content in board member packets is oriented both in landscape and portrait views to maximize viewability and minimize print costs. Anyone from the public can request information by contacting Mountain Line, so that reasonable accommodations can be requested, if needed.