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Temporary funds keep transit going

Tom Fontaine
| Thursday, July 4, 2013, 12:18 a.m.

Two programs will continue to provide low-income residents with rides to work under a temporary funding agreement PennDOT announced Wednesday.

One of the programs, the Airport Corridor Transportation Association's RideACTA, stopped running last weekend when it ran out of money. The other, Heritage Community Initiatives' WorkLink in the Mon Valley, was slated to end on Saturday.

“The need for both programs was very imminent,” PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said of the agreement that keeps them running through at least July 20.

“It means a lot of people can keep getting to work,” said Heritage Community Initiatives spokeswoman Amy Schnarrenberger.

Waters-Trasatt said the extension gives PennDOT time to look for a permanent solution.

Both programs received money through the federal Job Access and Reverse Commute program, which was eliminated last year. RideACTA shuttles about 80,000 riders a year between Port Authority's 28X Airport Flyer bus route and 150 businesses in the Robinson retail corridor, and WorkLink connects Mon Valley areas not served by transit to existing Port Authority routes, carrying about 156,000 riders a year.

The state Senate passed a $2.5 billion transportation funding bill last month that included $4 million to preserve the regional programs and five others across Pennsylvania. The funding plan stalled in the House last weekend. It's unclear when lawmakers might revive the issue.

In recent days, PennDOT officials said the agency could use at least $16.4 million in uncommitted transit money.

Tom Fontaine is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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