Cumberland County and Dauphin County not agreeing on funding for CAT

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CARLISLE, Pa. -- Cumberland County officials are withholding funds from Capital Area Transit. They said CAT is not taking steps toward PennDOT's recommendation of regionalizing transit services to add more counties to the route in Central Pennsylvania.

Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said, "We should all be looking to save the dollars and to approve service by moving toward the regionalizations plan. The budget that CAT proposed does not address any of the regionalization issues."

Cumberland County, Dauphin County and the City of Harrisburg are funding partners for CAT. If Cumberland County does not pay for their part of CAT's budget, about $350,000, it could also mean PennDOT pulls state funding for CAT as well.

Eichelberger said, "If CAT wants to jettison service to Cumberland County, our feeling is that the PennDOT subsidy, the match, should follow us. So that can be applied toward whatever transit agency is willing to serve our county."

CAT officials threatened to stop bus services in the county starting July 1 if officials don't pay up, which could be voted on next week.

Cumberland County Commissioner Vince DiFilippo said, "We are not going to let our residents be stranded. If they need bus transportation, they will get it."

Dauphin County officials said if services in Cumberland County stop, it will have consequences for bus riders in other areas.

Dauphin County Chief Clerk Chad Saylor said, "In the midst of all this, we're going to lose $2 million in state funding. And that's going to be a crisis for our transit agency. And really stymie us from doing anything with consolidation."

Saylor said his county is working toward the PennDOT regionalization plan. He said CAT is not ready to merge with other transit agencies.

He said, "In the meantime we've got to keep the buses running, we've got to keep service going, and we've got to improve CAT. We can't do that with Cumberland missing from the table."

Cumberland County commissioners said there's been enough time for CAT to move toward regionalization.

Eichelberger said, "We're having trouble understanding why so much foot dragging is going on. "

As of now, it's unclear what consequences bus riders will actually face, if anything.