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County May Strip WAVE of its Authority to Implement New Bus Routes

Route maps courtesy of Wave Transit

Citizens who rely on WAVE transit to reach the beach communities, as well as northern New Hanover County destinations such as Cape Fear Community College, Laney High School and the VA facility, will soon know for sure whether they need to make new travel plans. On October third, WAVE’s board of directors will meet with the county commissioners to decide the fate of the two bus routes that stand to be closed as a result of WAVE receiving less county funding this year. In addition, the county may also strip WAVE of its powers to implement new routes moving forward.

Chris Coudriet, New Hanover County’s manager, says that on October third, the commissioners will make a decision whether to forgive WAVE payback of a $133,000 loan from the county. Coudriet says the county will also determine its role in supporting the two routes in question, and may move to restructure WAVE’s decision-making powers.

"Currently we have WAVE deciding what the routes will be, implementing those, and then coming either to the city or county and saying, ‘Here’s what it costs to sustain these routes.’ Well, maybe that’s not the right way to make these decisions. Maybe there should be an identification of, ‘Here’s a market demand,’ and then coming to either the city or the county or both and saying, ‘Here’s what the cost of that route would be to build it and maintain it. Do you want to invest in this? "

Coudriet says that while the county commissioners may not reach a defined answer to this on October third, they intend to make a final decision regarding loan forgiveness.