Annapolis, county get transit cash Md. gives $425,000 from federal fund

August 06, 1993|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County and the city of Annapolis will receive more than $425,000 from the state to help pay for transportation programs.

The county will get about $125,000, while Annapolis will get more than $314,000. The money comes from the Mass Transit Administration (MTA) of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Virginia Thomas, a financial officer for the county Department of Aging, said the grant would be used to continue a taxi voucher program that provides discount coupons for senior citizens and disabled persons.

"It gives the seniors a little more flexibility. They can call a cab any time they want" instead of having to wait for a bus, Ms. Thomas said. "They can go shopping, go to the doctor's office, anything they want to do, and they are not restricted to a specific time frame."

Annapolis will receive about $185,731 for operating costs and $128,500 for capital expenses for its programs. The grant will be used by the city Department of Public Transportation to help cover a city bus service deficit, said Danielle Matland, deputy director of the city agency.

Fares cover about 30 cents of every dollar spent on operating the bus service, Ms. Matland said. The grant would help cover about 17 cents more.

Ms. Matland also said part of the grant would be used to replace two of 10 city-owned diesel vehicles.

Funding for the city's bus service will help people who need transportation to work but cannot afford a car, she said.

"If we did not have this grant, there'd be no bus service in Annapolis . . . because the city of Annapolis could not subsidize the deficit all by itself," she said.

MTA spokeswoman Kerry Hellmann said the grants are an important part of meeting MTA's public transportation goals.

"Helping their transit systems helps ours because it gets more people using public transportation," she said. "We can only go so far."

The state was able to distribute the money because of a $28 million grant it received from the Federal Transit Administration in mid-July. About $3.6 million of the FTA grant was distributed to Maryland jurisdictions.

The rest of the FTA money would be used to extend current services, for new services or for "any kind of system improvements we need to do," Ms. Hellmann said. She cited plans to buy more MTA buses and equipment, such as replacement engines and radios for buses.

Ms. Hellman said MTA distributed the grants based on applications by counties and cities.

While some received only operating grants and others only got capital grants, Ms. Hellman said all requests were met.

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