MAHONING COUNTY Groups urge pact for transport

Commissioners said they are not ready to act on the transportation issue.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Employees and patients from a local dialysis center want Mahoning County commissioners to sign a contract with a Trumbull County agency to transport them back and forth for treatments here.
People from the Center for Dialysis Care in Canfield said they need a carrier who can affordably transport patients with medical disabilities for treatment in Mahoning County.
They pressed commissioners to contract with Niles/Trumbull County Transit Service, which provides such services for patients at the CDC clinic in Warren.
The Niles/Trumbull County Transit Service contracts with Community Bus Service of Youngstown to provide services including transportation of dialysis patients.
What some patients do
Christine Creatore, CDC transportation specialist, said many Mahoning County patients have to hire a private ambulance to take them for dialysis treatments, at a cost of hundreds of dollars per week.
She said NTCTS carries Trumbull County patients to the dialysis clinic in Warren for $6 per round trip. For patients who need treatment three days a week, it's a total of $18 per week.
But the director of the Western Reserve Transit Authority says his agency already provides that service in the county, and charges only $1.
"We take patients to dialysis. It isn't anything new," said WRTA Director Jim Ferraro.
Some CDC patients at the meeting said they have tried using WRTA, but that WRTA won't offer door-to-door service. They said it's too difficult for some patients to get outside and to a place where they can be picked up.
But Ferraro said that's not true, and said WRTA does provide curbside service for dialysis and other medical patients. The only restriction is that WRTA staff can't go into the house to get the patient for insurance and liability reasons.
However, he said personal-care assistants can ride the bus free if they are there to assist medical patients.
Commissioners said they are not ready to sign a contract with anyone yet.
"We are still in the information-gathering stage," said Commissioner Ed Reese.
Railroad signal structure
Commissioners also approved an agreement with the Norfolk Southern Railway Company for relocation of a railroad signal structure at the Walton Avenue bridge.
County Engineer Richard Marsico said the signal structure must be moved as part of a project in which the bridge will be replaced later this year.
He said the $655,000 cost of the signal relocation will be included in the overall cost of the project.
The Mahoning River Corridor of Opportunity planning committee already has secured $3,250,000 in combined federal, state and county funds to build the bridge, which is designed for truck traffic and intended to spur economic redevelopment.
The bridge will provide access to the site of the former Campbell Works of Youngstown Sheet & amp; Tube Co., replacing a bridge that was demolished during the 1980s.