El Paso county commissioners may revive 'Vamonos Vanpool' program after killing it

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso County will attempt to revive its "Vamonos Vanpool" program in order to continue receiving about $2 million dollars in other rural transit grants.

Commissioners made the move just a week after they voted to cancel the program because it failed to comply with federal grant requirements. The county didn't turn in the reports required, commissioners learned last week. The failure could end up costing taxpayers $600,000.

Longtime county employee Rosemary Neill, who oversaw the program, was fired on Thursday. Now, commissioners echoed what she told them: that the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) may still restore the grant funding if the county submits the tardy program documentation, which would include van mileage and passenger information.

Commissioners fear the mismanagement of the vanpool program may result in the loss of funding for other county programs.

"As we compete for grants, this will take away some points, some positive points El Paso has," said County Commissioner Carlos Leon. "Eliminating this program takes away some credits or points El Paso has and we would be in danger of losing other funding for El Paso county rural programs."

The county auditor's office vowed it will work with TXDOT and the Federal Highway Administration to make sure that the county is compliant with those agencies' standards.

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