Clayton County misses out of federal money to extend C-TRAN service

The Clayton News Daily reported Friday that the Board of Commissioners failed to take up a resolution that would have extended bus service by three months.

Once C-TRAN’s money runs out and service ends March 31, the county may also have to return at least $2.1 million in federal dollars, according to the newspaper.

MARTA, which runs trains and buses in Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb counties, operates the Clayton County system.

The Clayton board had voted in Dec. 15 to allow MARTA to apply for a Federal Transit Administration grant to extend service until June 30. The resolution said “the total cost of the extended service [would be paid] exclusively” by money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

MARTA told the board earlier this week, however, that stimulus money “cannot supplant local funding obligations,” and the county would first have to spend all money already set aside for C-TRAN in its fiscal 2010 budget before it would have access to the grant.

Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell on Tuesday proposed a resolution committing the county to spend all of the $6.6 million it had already set aside for C-TRAN operations but the motion failed because there was no second, the newspaper reported.

Commissioner Michael Edmondson told the Clayton News Daily the county would have to spend $2 million by the end of the fiscal to qualify for $2.7 million in federal stimulus money to extend C-TRAN service through June. Edmondson said Bell’s recommendation did not offer a “long-term, funding solution.”

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