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Published: Monday, 8/16/2004

bus Service Oregon officials reluctant to join TARTA

Oregon residents wishing to hop on a TARTA bus and be shuttled about the area may find themselves out of luck.

Oregon city officials last night expressed doubts about whether the city could afford to pay the money necessary to join the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority.

During a committee-of the-whole meeting, Mayor Marge Brown and Councilman Michael Sefarian said it might be too expensive to implement bus service in Oregon anytime soon.

Applications for a grant to finance such a program are due Sept. 10.

Councilman Seferian said it may not be time to apply for the three-year program, citing cost and the uncertain funding of the fourth year of the program.

If the city received the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant, federal funds would pay for 80 percent of the program, while the city would be responsible for the other 20 percent of the cost: an estimated $67,000 for the first year.

Funding for the fourth year has not been determined yet, officials said.

"Once you get a program started, it's very hard to tell people 'no,'‚óŹ" Mr. Seferian said. "It's like teasing."

After the meeting, Mayor Brown echoed Councilman Seferian's concern regarding the cost of the transportation. "If I had the money, I would take this," she said.

"It's important for the citizens who can't get around."

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