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Durham May Not Make DATA Service Cuts After Increase Of Federal Funding

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DURHAM, N.C. — City Manager Marcia Conner announced Wednesday that service cuts to balance the budget for

Durham Area Transit Authority

may not be necessary after increased federal funding, totaling at least $500,000.

Mayor Bill Bell has asked Conner to present the latest update to the City Council during Thursday's budget work session. Bell said he would recommend the council approve the proposal so it can be presented during the DATA public hearing later Thursday.

The City Council work session begins at 1 p.m. Thursday in City Hall.

"The timing could not have been better," Conner said. "This presents the possibility that citizens who need DATA most won't have to endure any reductions in DATA services this year.

"The city still has to ensure that we find the right combination of fares, state, federal and local funding to make sure this vital service is here when our riders need it in the future."

The Federal Transit Administration informed Durham officials that funding for transportation would be increased because the agency began this year using 2000 Census figures to calculate funding for metropolitan areas. That means Durham would receive at least $500,000 in addition to the projected $2.1 million in FTA funding already included in the DATA budget.

An FTA official informed the city of the new distribution. The amount Durham would receive was calculated Tuesday, said Public Works Director Katie Kalb, who oversees DATA operations.

"The distribution was based on ridership, population density and miles traveled," Kalb said, "all areas in which Durham has high numbers."

Fare increases from 75 cents to $1 are still included in next fiscal year's budget beginning July 1.

Thursday's public hearing, continued from June 2, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Durham City Hall.

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