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Officials ask transit authority to start paying gas bills

November 19, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Transit Authority resumed limited bus service to Waynesboro, Pa., earlier this month, a move that prompted Chambersburg to resume sending gasoline bills to the authority.

"We have the money to pay it and we appreciate what you've done in the past," James Jenkins, president of the authority's board of directors, told the council Tuesday.

"The check's in the mail," he said.

In October, the authority voted to resume service in Waynesboro on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Nov. 4. Waynesboro bus service was cut in the spring when the authority faced a budget crisis.

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Service in Chambersburg was cut from seven routes a day to one route running three days a week.

Councilman Robert Wareham said he learned service was resuming in Waynesboro by reading the newspaper.

"We've been providing your fuel without asking for remuneration at this time," Wareham said. The residents of the borough should not have to pay for fuel to provide service to another municipality, he told Jenkins.

The authority recently received a bill from the borough for more than $600 in gas, which Jenkins said the board voted Monday to pay. Chambersburg, however, has not pressed the authority to pay its bills for months.

Jenkins said the authority board "felt bad when we had to pull out of Waynesboro ... We felt going back to Waynesboro was something we owed them."

Jenkins said he will go to Waynesboro's council and ask for funding. He said he has been reluctant to do so because the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has still not completed a recovery plan for the bus system.

Part of the recovery plan calls for municipalities served by the authority to provide local funding. Chambersburg's 2004 preliminary budget, however, contains no money for the system, according to Borough Manager Eric Oyer.

The authority continues to receive subsidies from the department of transportation and recently signed contracts to provide transportation services to Franklin County Mental Health/Mental Retardation and an after-school program for migrant children, according to Jenkins.

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