Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
-- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today announced a funding solution that should provide the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) with sufficient operating funds for the immediate future.
Under the proposed plan, CARTA would “trade” some of its already appropriated federal funds – money that cannot be used for operating expenditures – for state money to pay for its paratransit services. Paratransit service generally means comparable transportation service, including demand-response service, for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed route transportation systems. CARTA would then be able to use the money that would be obligated for those services as operating revenue.
The state and federal governments would neither lose nor gain money in this transaction.
“This is an occasion where people in government found a way to make things happen instead of dwelling on why they could not,” said Graham. “This is a major breakthrough in the funding dilemma facing CARTA.”
“Over the past several months, I have been pleased to work with CARTA, our local officials, and the congressional delegation to ensure they would be able to continue offering transit services to those in need,” said Graham. “CARTA’s continued operation is essential to those who rely on its services to get to work, to go to the store, or who have other business in the Charleston region. This plan will assist CARTA in achieving its goal of remaining a transportation link in the area.”
“The ability to maintain a funding stream to keep CARTA operational until a new referendum is held will avoid a major disruption of service,” said Graham. “Transferring funds will allow services to continue in an acceptable manner until the voters have a chance to have their say. The ultimate decision as to whether CARTA will survive and if so, in what form, is in the hands of the taxpayers as it always should have been.”