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Funding cut for Chambersburg bus line

July 02, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Passengers who ride public buses of the Chambersburg Transit Authority have until July 16 to find a new mode of transportation.

This week James F. Jenkins, whose resignation as president of the authority's board of directors took effect Wednesday, received a letter from Sharon A. Daboin, acting deputy secretary for local and area transportation for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, saying that federal and state subsidies would end Thursday.

CTA has until July 16 to end its routes and take its buses off the road.

All seven of the authority's buses, a trolley and a van, plus any other assets, will have to be turned over to the Federal Transit Administration on that date, according to Daboin's letter.

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"For more than a year the Department has attempted to work with the CTA Board of Directors and Chambersburg Borough on a plan to provide for a continuation of service," Daboin said in the letter.

"The result is that there is no clear managerial, technical, financial or legal ability evident," Daboin said in the letter. "The Department is therefore unable to conclude that CTA is capable of sustaining even the minimal level of service currently being provided."

CTA's buses run three days a week in Chambersburg and two days in Waynesboro.

Sam Kuhn, authority vice president, said riders take about 1,000 trips a month.

"That shows that the service is needed," he said. Most riders are senior citizens or residents with disabilities.

"I'm sad to see it go," Kuhn said. He drove the first trip on the first day that the service began in Chambersburg in 1991, he said.

Kuhn said CTA currently has four drivers and a secretary on its payroll. All work part time, he said.

Its headquarters is a rented office at 437 Wolf Ave. in Chambersburg.

PennDOT officials want an external audit of CTA's books for the 2002 through 2004 fiscal years. The Inspector General's Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation also will conduct a report on the finances and operations of the authority during that time.

Eric Oyer, Chambersburg borough manager, estimated CTA's debt at upwards of $1 million.

"This is the end of it," said William McLaughlin, a Chambersburg borough councilman and until March 2003, a member of CTA's board of directors until, he said, he resigned in frustration.

"My expectation is that CTA has run its course," McLaughlin said. "There's no president, no administration and no director."

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