Wednesday, February 27, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
ATLANTA -- A metro-wide express bus system could close, without some funding help from the state.
In the proposed state budget for 2014, $8.1 million is proposed for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority's Xpress system, which runs several bus routes from Gwinnett to Atlanta.
While the system has garnered support in the amended state budget for the past several years (including a boost proposed for the 2013 fiscal year this legislative session), it is the first time that the state has proposed funding in the first cycle of budget-writing.
Rob Alexander, a spokesman for the system, said that the initial funding for the express bus routes, which came through an agreement with metro area counties, ran out several years ago.
While fares bring in about $7 million a year and federal resources add $5 million, the proposed state contribution still leaves the department about $4 million shy of its $24 million budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins in July, Alexander said.
Officials are considering some "belt-tightening," as well as a request for the additional funds when lawmakers meet next year.
According to the most recent statistics, the system's 33 express bus routes have 2.4 million boardings a year. Four routes travel from Gwinnett locations -- two from Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville and one from Snellville and one from Doraville. Those have about 350,000 boarding a year.