ATTENTION BUS USERS IN CLATSOP AND COLUMBIA COUNTIES:
The Sunset Empire Transportation District has announced that beginning tomorrow, Saturday April 29, 2023, it will suspend all bus routes, and close its offices indefinitely. This decision has been made due to financial problems.
Suspended routes will affect bus users in the cities of Cannon Beach, Seaside, Gearhart, Warrenton, Astoria, Knappa/Svensen, Westport, Clatskanie, Rainier, St Helens, and Scappoose.
The news is devastating as many people in the community rely on public transportation to get to jobs, medical appointments, school and to shop.
GET THERE CONNECT is a tool that can help people find alternative forms of transportation, and find peer groups to share car rides with.
Visit https://getthereoregon.org/ for more information!
Attention Tillamook County Transportation District passengers:
TCTD Route 3 service from Tillamook to Cannon Beach will continue as scheduled, but riders will not be able to transfer to Sunset Empire’s service from there. We will continue to keep you informed as additional changes/information come through. Please reach out to TCTD at 503-815-8283 with any additional questions.
Statement from the Oregon Department of Transportation, Karyn C. Criswell, Public Transportation Division Administrator, Oregon Department of Transportation about the Sunset Empire Transportation District situation:
Please know that ODOT and the transit community in Oregon are deeply committed to keeping public transportations services in operation on the north coast. We recognize the deep impact that SETD’s service suspension will have on the community and are providing technical assistance to SETD to understand the current financial situation and a potential path forward to service resumption.
ODOT’s public transportation funding is governed by strict federal and state regulations. ODOT funds SETD and other local public transit providers through agreements that require the transit provider to identify the projects and services they intend to provide and submit documentation of those expenditures to ODOT. Our role is to ensure that funds are being spent consistent with the terms of the agreements. At this time, ODOT has already distributed funds owed to SETD, consistent with the terms of existing agreements. ODOT has no other sources of funding for SETD, nor are we able to loan SETD funding. In addition, we are concerned about whether state and federal funds have been expended in a manner that is substantially compliant with existing agreements and regulations. We are working with ODOT Audits and an independent third-party contractor to schedule and conduct a financial audit in addition to the already scheduled compliance review on May 15-16
We understand that SETD is applying for loans and as of this morning, seemed optimistic one might come through. A bit farther in the future, the Oregon Transportation Commission will consider approving a new request for state funding at their May 11, 2023 meeting. If the OTC approves that request, SETD may be eligible for additional state funds as early as July 1, pending the outcome of an independent upcoming financial audit and compliance review.
In addition to the above, ODOT is playing a facilitative role with neighboring transit providers as well as the Oregon Transit Association to see what assistance they might be able to provide at this time. I don’t yet know what is possible as each of those entities have their own laws and regulations that must be followed. These meetings are scheduled to occur early next week.
Thank you again for reaching out. Please know that we are also deeply concerned about the community as well as the SETD staff and will do everything we can within our authority to help them get back on their feet.