Transit bill backed by RTA chief

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Transit bill backed by RTA chief

Dayton Daily News – WASHINGTON — The head of the Dayton transit system said a bill backed by Sen. Sherrod Brown might allow him to maintain current bus service even as sales tax revenues financing the system continue to drop.

“We would hope it would be enough to get us through the tough times without any service reductions,’’ said Mark Donaghy, executive director of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority. “We’re currently operating our system on 1996 revenue levels, so the challenge for us is to find ways to keep the service we have on the street.’’

Brown’s bill would allow local transit systems to steer federal dollars from buying more buses and building bus stops toward operating the buses and avoiding layoffs.

Authors of the bill insist it would not lead to increased federal spending, but provide local transit systems with greater flexibility to spend their federal dollars for either new buses or maintaining current service.

“It gives them a little shot in the arm,’’ Brown said Tuesday, March 16, after speaking to a rally on Capitol Hill attended by unionized transit workers and a handful of reporters. “It’s temporary; it gives the local authorities flexibility — it doesn’t say don’t spend on capital.’’

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