PART drives toward more funding
The leaders of the region’s mass transit agency hope that tapping into a new source of funding could help preserve and restore bus service that’s been cut in the past two years because of money problems.
The board of trustees of the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation voted unanimously Wednesday to apply for $400,000 in federal funding that targets rural transportation services. Though federal money, the application would be through the N.C. Department of Transportation.
The PART board faced a deadline of applying by Dec. 28 for funding that would be available during its next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2013.
Facing a budget shortfall that ballooned to more than $1 million, PART has had to cut bus trips and raise fares during the past two years, including eliminating trips in Randolph and Davidson counties. If PART receives the Federal Transit Administration Rural Operating Funds, the money would shore up the agency’s ability to provide service in rural counties and restore bus trips cut during the past two years.
Any restoration of service first would assist Surry County, which lost high-traffic bus trips. But PART also would consider restoring a trip in Randolph County that was eliminated, as well as service to Davidson County Community College that was cut, said Scott Rhine, a program manager of development with PART.
When PART held public hearings on bus trip cuts, several faculty members and students at DCCC objected, saying PART Express is essential for many students to reach the campus.
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