Revised numbers from Capital Area Transit show Cumberland County may have to hand over between $552,817 and $867,634 for Gov. Tom Corbett's transportation funding plan.
Capital Area Transit released revised impact numbers for Cumberland County's expected contribution rates should the funding plan proposal pass on June 30.
Cumberland County Commissioner Jim Hertzler released a statement Monday criticizing the governor's proposal, which would force increased property taxes to pay for mass transit contributions.
"Again, except for the onerous and inequitable property tax, we have no other revenue source to turn to if we are required to pay this increased cost," Hertzler wrote in email Wednesday. "And again, the higher amounts would be foisted upon us if, as I understand, we refused to agree to an 8-county mass transit system consolidation plan (that is still being studied) -- if at the end of the day we, as locally elected officials, decided consolidation would not really save any money, would not improve operations or services, and would not work to the best interests of our respective constituents. As we've seen in so many other cases, bigger is not always better."
Under current ACT 44 funding, Cumberland County contributes $319,324 to Capital Area Transit, about 13.73 percent of the regional contribution to CAT. Of the funding Cumberland County provides, $94,013 represents capital purposes, such as purchasing a new bus, and the remaining $225,311 supports operations.
Hertzler said Cumberland County has worked to increase their contribution amount from around 5 percent in 2007 up to 10.09 percent in 2013, with plans to reach 15 percent in the coming years.
The governor's new proposal calls for counties to expand their contribution for capital transit projects from 3.33 percent to 20 percent and the operating match from 15 to 20 percent. The proposal also encourages counties to sign onto regional transit consolidation plans by promising to keep their operating match contribution rate at 15 percent.
"If you don't agree to consolidate, you're not going to only increase to 20 percent, but you'll increase to 25 percent," Hertzler said. "The problem is our only source of revenue is the property tax. There is no alternative source for us to go except for property tax payers."
Hertzler originally collaborated with CAT on Monday and created "conservative and very preliminary estimates" of what the county's local contribution would be at 15, 20 and 25 percent. The numbers predicted anywhere from a $229,000 to a $544,000 spike in required county contributions.
The new figures, although preliminary, comprise only part of the region's required mass transit contribution, which CAT says could climb to anywhere between $1,791,385 and $2,811,517 -- or possibly more.
Copyright 2013 - The Sentinel, Carlisle, Pa.