MANATEE — Manatee County Area Transit officials are discussing the launch of a bus route to Lakewood Ranch toward the end of 2015, but they haven't determined how to pay for it.
During a budget workshop session Monday, they said two studies are underway on the subject, which will help to guide their work.
Transit Division Manager William Steele said he would like to do something sooner, perhaps realigning routes.
“It’s not fully about additional money,” he said. “Lakewood Ranch service would come later.”
After the budget session, Steele said service to Lakewood Ranch in eastern Manatee County could start in late 2015.
But first transit officials will appear before the commission with a route recommendation and an approximate cost, he said.
Should commissioners OK the plan, the Florida Department of Transportation would pay 50 percent of the cost for the first three years in order to get the route started, but after that costs would be borne by Manatee County, he said.
The existing bus fleet would probably suffice for such a route, but Steele said he would need to hire more people, such as bus drivers.