The group of counties and public transit agencies – which includes Lincoln County – has been awarded a National Association of Counties Achievement Award this year in the transportation category for the North by Northwest Connector.
Columbia County, the lead agency on the project, will receive the award in July at the NACo Awards Luncheon as part of the organization’s annual conference in Tarrant County, Texas. Public transportation leaders in Benton, Lincoln, Clatsop, Tillamook, and Columbia counties teamed up in 2012 to improve the public transit connections between all of these counties. The Coast to Valley Express – which is jointly operated by Benton County Rural Transit and Lincoln County Transit – now has multiple stops each service day at the Amtrak station in Albany and into South Beach in Lincoln County.
“We’ve been working on this project for close to three years,” Lincoln County Transit Program Director, Cynda Bruce, said. “To see services finally allowing County residents to move through five counties seamlessly is very rewarding.”
Lincoln County transit customers can hop onto other buses connecting them to communities in the other participating counties. All buses are equipped with bicycle racks for convenience for those who wish to “bike and ride.” The project is funded with a $3.5 million United States Department of Energy grant aimed at increasing transit use by commuters and visitors in rural northwestern Oregon. Successful strategies piloted by the five-county transit alliance will serve as a national model for other transit providers across the country.
Started in 1970, the annual NACo Achievement Award Program recognizes innovative county government programs. Each application is judged on its own merits and awards are given in 21 different categories.
North by Northwest Connector brochures and schedules are available at Lincoln County Transit
410 NE Harney Street, Newport, Oregon 97365. Information is also available online at www.co.lincoln.or.us