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The importance of public transportation

We were pleased to recently see an increased commitment to local public transportation.

The Central West Virginia Transit Authority recently unveiled a $150,000 CENTRA transit station on Clarksburg's Pike Street and has begun the purchase of nine new vehicles with a $78,000, 24-passenger bus.

Bob Boylan, CENTRA general manager, has additionally said the authority is considering an expansion of its current 11 routes to reach rural areas where the population is growing.

Local public transportation is important on many levels.

Some Harrison County citizens already use CENTRA during difficult financial times, when owning or operating an automobile is not possible. Other residents use CENTRA because they are unable to drive because of age-related or other disabilities. As West Virginia's median age continues to skew toward senior status, this segment of riders will no doubt increase.

Public transportation also provides a way to reduce auto-emission pollution, which anyone who has noticed the brown streak that frequently hovers over I-79 should see as a good thing.

But, underlying all facets there is its importance in terms of development.

Sam Beverage, acting secretary of transportation, couldn't have said it better: "Transportation and economic development -- you have to have one to have the other."

Harrison County voters evidentally agree. The have repeatedly elected to augment CENTRA's operating revenues with a countywide levy.

The voters and the authority have shown a great deal of wisdom. Maintaining and expanding public transportation is costly, but it is an investment in the North Central Region's future.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey, Nora Edinger and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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