Worth the Expense?

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This should be the best of times for the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority. Six months ago, the Authority and its offices moved into a brand-new intermodal transportation center.

"Easy Rider, other than having a brand-new terminal and offices, is still the same system we've been for 27 years," says transit system manager Joe Lockhart.

But the transit board is questioning the timing of published reports over the weekend that, between 2004 and this year, it has spent thousands of dollars to take trips to out-of-town conventions.

The expenses involve travel and accommodations for transit system manager Joe Lockhart, various board members, and their wives.

"Not only does Parkersburg go there," says transit board president Terry Ellis, "but so do the other major cities in West Virginia, such as Charleston and Huntington, and their wives do go with them."

Added board member Bill McClure, "I feel the education is very vital to the operation of Easy Rider."

Board members say the trolley, which offers tours of Parkersburg, was an idea, which came from the conventions, although Marietta's Tourist Bureau has had a similar trolley for years.

The transit board's travel budget amounts to $25,000 a year. Lockhart says that amounts to less one percent of the transit system's annual budget. Lockhart says the additional levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home a little more than $52 a year, or roughly a dollar a week.

Only Parkersburg residents will vote on the levy Tuesday while Vienna City Council this summer may make a decision of holding a vote on the November ballot.