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TCAT official: “We can’t continue level of service unless we have more funding”

TCAT official: “We can’t continue level of service unless we have more funding”

A TCAT bus makes a stop at the corner of Seneca and Aurora streets in the city of Ithaca Photo: WHCU/Peter Blanchard

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, Inc. (TCAT) is looking to local towns and cities for funding to help keep its bus system solvent.

At a meeting of the Tompkins County Council of Governments Thursday, county legislator and member of TCAT’s Board of Directors Peter Stein asked municipal officials if they could contribute more.

“We have an excellent service, but we can’t continue to have that level of service unless we have more funding,” he said. “It is a struggle for municipal bus services to provide a service that is frequent and convenient enough to influence people to take that instead of cars.”

Stein proposed a funding model that would have towns and cities contribute based on how often their residents use the service.

TCAT receives around $1 million from the City of Ithaca, $2 million from Tompkins County, and $4 million from Cornell University, according to Stein, along with funding at the state and federal level.

Adding to TCAT’s troubles is a major embezzlement scheme by one of its accountants that resulted in the loss of $247,000 over the course of four years.

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