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Berkeley County Commission briefs

September 12, 2008

PanTran eyes fare hike over fuel prices



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Without additional government funding, the Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority's budget will be depleted five months before the end of the fiscal year because of soaring fuel prices, transit authority leaders said Thursday.

Transit Authority director Lynn Walker said that, even with additional money, the agency known as PanTran still might have to increase fares, despite a 21 percent jump in ridership.

Walker said she has asked officials in municipalities in Berkeley and Jefferson counties that already receive bus service for additional money to shrink an anticipated $55,000 shortfall because of fuel prices.

In a letter to the County Commission, Walker said PanTran also lost $18,000 in advertising income when the Transit Authority's only advertiser pulled its ads.

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Faced with its own budget crunch, the County Commission did not immediately commit additional money, but President Steven C. Teufel agreed to revisit the request in October when the county's financial picture becomes more clear.

Martinsburg City Council on Tuesday voted to appropriate an additional $11,300 for PanTran. That amound was a little more than half of what the agency requested.

Development Authority to sell 13 acres to state



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Berkeley County Development Authority agreed to sell the state about 13 acres of the Tablers Station Business Park south of Martinsburg as part of a plan to improve road access to the property and advance economic investment.

County Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield announced the authority's decision Thursday during the commission's regular meeting.

Stubblefield said the state offered the county about $49,000 per acre for the land, which he said was the last right-of-way easements needed by transportation officials. The state recently agreed to speed up the scheduled construction of a "connector" for the business park to improve access to Interstate 81.

-- Matthew Umstead

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