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CARTA Warns of Fiscal Cliff as County Pulls Funding

Public transportation funding cut

CARTA Warns of Fiscal Cliff as County Pulls Funding

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) is warning of a possible ‘fiscal cliff’ as Hamilton County decides to withhold funding. The notice comes as the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2025 does not explicitly mention CARTA.

Impact of Funding Cuts on CARTA

Last year, Hamilton County provided over $100,000 in funding to CARTA. The sudden decision to not include CARTA in next year’s budget has caused worry. CARTA’s Chief Executive Officer, Charles Frazier, expressed that they are operating at a 20 percent loss without additional funding. Frazier warned that this could dramatically impact CARTA’s ability to continue its operations and posed a significant “fiscal cliff” for the company.

Reasoning Behind Funding Cuts

The Chief of Staff for Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp, Claire McVay, revealed that the decision was necessitated by a tight budget year. She explained, “We were forced to fund agencies most closely aligned with functions of county government. We’re supportive of CARTA and its mission, and we’re open to exploring future partnerships.”

CARTA’s Future Plans and Response

Despite the setback, Frazier acknowledged that CARTA has its work cut out. He underlined the need for CARTA to regain community trust by demonstrating efficient cost control and waste management. He further said, “Our funding partners expect for CARTA to show evidence that we are controlling costs properly and eliminating waste. We’ll need to prove that we can do that before we see movement there.”

Not all is bleak for CARTA, with Chattanooga’s city budget allocating $5.8 million for the company’s operating budget and an extra $1.5 million for maintenance. This financial boost does serve as a relative cushion against the blow received from Hamilton County’s funding cuts.

On a hopeful note, Frazier added, “We appreciate the ongoing dialogue with county leadership and look forward to exploring opportunities that benefit our community. For CARTA, collaboration with Mayor Wamp and the County Commission is essential as we all address workforce needs, economic development, and the transit infrastructure that serves all our area residents. Together, we can develop innovative solutions to improve public transportation and contribute to our region’s overall growth and prosperity.”

This report comes to you from HERE News Network, your trusted source for local news. Our team works tirelessly to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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