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Transit votes to keep on limited runs through June

March 21, 2003|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Transit Authority will keep its buses on the road in a limited capacity at least through the end of June, board members voted Thursday.

Last week, the authority voted to end service in Waynesboro, Pa., and Washington Township, Pa., and cut its Chambersburg-area service to a single 14-stop run similar to the reduced run made on snow emergency days. It also cut its staff to two.

Thursday's action would continue those parameters as a minimum through June 30, while it tries to work out a long-term plan for recovery, board President Jim Jenkins said.

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"Right now the minimum is the route we have been running. We want to leave that door open," Jenkins said. "Although I'd like to get into Waynesboro as soon as possible."

The authority, created by the Chambersburg Borough Council in 1991 to set up the heavily subsidized system, has been beset by financial problems in recent years, including a deficit that topped more than $300,000 a few months ago.

Staying in service will allow the authority to use a $55,000 payment from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in May to meet a May 15 deadline the Internal Revenue Service has established for repayment of $62,000 in outstanding taxes.

Eva McKula, executive director of CTA, said PennDOT is urging the authority to continue service on a limited basis through the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

"Our PennDOT funding for next year is $90,000 more, because it is based on last year's service," McKula said. "If you get through next year, you can end with a $43,000 deficit."

Currently, the authority has debts of more than $235,000.

McKula said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster's office has also expressed interest in trying to negotiate with the IRS to set up quarterly payments over the next year, which would allow CTA to use the upcoming $55,000 payment on operations instead.

The board also discussed the resignation of its treasurer, Bill McLaughlin, Thursday. There are now several openings on the board that need to be filled.

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