Public Transit Riders Rally for Increased Funding

November 10, 2012

About a dozen transit riders lined the sidewalks outside the Albemarle County Office Building Saturday afternoon to rally for increased funding for public transit.

Members of the Transit Riders Association of Charlottesville said they want expanded service in Albemarle County, and they're going after additional funding sources to get it.

"We're not just limiting things to Charlottesville. We're not just going to pick on Charlottesville," said TRAC member Brandon Collins. "We're going to go and see who's got funding, who's going to put it up, and how we can really make this a world-class transit system."

Their hope -- Albemarle County will step up its contribution to Charlottesville Area Transit, which covers just 11 percent of CAT's operating budget, according to TRAC chairperson Paul Long.

"The increased job development that's occurring in the area is mostly occurring in Albemarle County," said Long. "We would like to see new, extensive bus routes to where the new job openings are opening up at."

The county currently has $722,555 of its budget set aside for CAT services. That is an increase of nearly $75,000 since last fiscal year.

Still, some riders said they think the county can pitch in even more cash.

"There's a great support among the public for mass public transportation," Collins said. "It's a matter of governmental bodies funding it and building it in a way that meets the needs of riders."

TRAC members said they are happy with some of the proposed changes to come out of CAT's ongoing transit study. They said their biggest concern is that the study is centered on the existing budget.

"What we would like to see is options if we were to increase funding," Collins said.

TRAC members said, while they have not spoken to the county yet about getting the additional funding they're after, they hope Saturday's rally will get the wheels turning on securing some extra cash for CAT.

They said their next step is to request the money in person at future Board of Supervisors meetings.

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