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CARTA’s Budget Boost: Chattanooga Steers $500,000 from Surplus to Help Keep Buses Running

Bus funding boost celebration.

CARTA’s Budget Boost: Chattanooga Steers $500,000 from Surplus to Help Keep Buses Running

City of Chattanooga Grants One-Time Additional Funding to CARTA

The City of Chattanooga is providing a budget boost to the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), offering a one-time additional funding of half a million dollars to help maintain its bus operations. City leaders approved the additional funding at a budget education session last week, as confirmed by Eric Holl, Senior Advisor to Mayor Tim Kelly.

This funding decision follows reports of CARTA losing out on thousands of dollars from the proposed 2025 budget plan of Hamilton County, which traditionally contributed $100,000 annually.

Addressing Economic Development Concerns

Facing a potential ‘fiscal cliff’, CARTA considered raising tickets for the Chattanooga Incline Railroad on Lookout Mountain to offset the shortfall. Now, with the additional $500,000, funded by the economic development contingency fund, the pressure to raise prices is alleviated.

“We conducted a review of surplus funds city-wide, considering the challenging budget year we are having. That resulted in our proposal for a $16.9 million budget supplement, and this additional funding for CARTA,” said Holl. He believes that CARTA plays a vital role in the city’s economic development, providing much-needed transport for workers to get to their jobs.

Overall City Contribution to CARTA

With this recent addition, the total city contribution to CARTA for this year amounts to approximately $6.3 million, as per Holl. He also noted that the Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors Department has seen a substantial boost in its budget this year.

“We were reserving funds beyond the requirements for retaining our AAA bond rating and being recognized as one of the most fiscally responsible cities in America,” Holl revealed. “However, we identified surplus funds that could be invested more efficiently in areas like affordable housing, public safety, parks and outdoors, and early childhood education”.

CARTA’s Significant Role in the City

An investigative analysis conducted last October revealed that between August 2021 and March 2023, roughly half a million passengers utilized CARTA buses for commuting. The fares accumulated during this period totaled around $2,000,000, accounting for just 7% of the operational cost for the buses.

The story continues to develop, and HERE NEWS Network is committed to keeping followers updated with any additional information as it becomes available.

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