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State panel calls for new transit funding

By: Dave RessContact Reporter

A man boards a Hampton Roads Transit bus at a stop along Big Bethel Road in Hampton on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. (Aileen Devlin/Daily Press / Daily Press)

Virginia’s mass transit operators face a sharp drop in state support after next fiscal year and the state needs to step in to fill the gap, a blue ribbon panel says.

A 10-year-old state program to set aside $110 million a year for transit operations, including Hampton Roads Transit, begins phasing out in fiscal year 2019, which will cut roughly in half the number of vehicles that transit firms can replace or rehab, the Transit Capital Project Revenue Advisory Board reported this week.

In a special report commissioned by the General Assembly, the board said Virginia needs to figure out some way to set up a long-term, dedicated stream of funds to keep transit vehicles in good repair and ensure that there are enough to handle future passengers.

The program transit systems now rely on for much of this work is funded by proceeds of a 2008 bond sale, but those bonds are maturing and can’t be tapped going forward.

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