City on Board with ECAT Funding

city councilThe Pensacola City Council unanimously approved a mass transit interlocal between the city and Escambia County during Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

The interlocal provides that Escambia can have the city’s portion of a 4-cent gas tax—estimated in the $700,000 neighborhood—that county commissioners levied last fall with the intention of fully funding the Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT) system. When approving the interlocal, council members expressed a desire for an additional seat on the county’s Mass Transit Advisory Committee.

Currently, the city is granted one seat on the committee; the council would like to see it increased to two. Interim County Administrator George Touart told council he would relay their request to the Escambia County Commission.

The gas tax interlocal agreement was a labored process. At various times, city council members expressed support for releasing the tax to fund mass transit, and administration officials contended the proceeds might could be put to better use funding economic development efforts at the Pensacola International Airport.

During a county commission meeting last week, Touart had complained about the difficulty he was having working through the ECAT interlocal, as well as an agreement concerning the library system, with the city. Appearing before the city council on Monday, the county administrator chalked his earlier remarks up as “satirical” and stressed his good relationship with the city administrator.

“Bill Reynolds and I work very closely together,” Touart told the council.

The Pensacola City Council meets for its regular meeting today at 5:30 p.m. at Pensacola City Hall.