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      PDRTA needs $400,000 from Florence County to keep rolling

      ThePee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA) is faced with cutting services and between 40 to 50 jobs due to lack of funding.

      The organization plans to make the cuts within 60 days if additional money isn't found, according to PDRTA board chairperson Ed Robinson.

      Robinson says the City of Florence gives PDRTA $85,000 a year and the County of Florence gives $13,000.

      He says both the city and county need to increase their contributions to $200,000 for PDRTA to maintain all of its services in Florence County.

      PDRTA runs buses every hour in the City of Florence and makes trips to Lake City and Timmonsville.

      It takes students back and forth to Florence Darlington Technical College and Francis Marion University.

      "We're so involved in growing our city. Downtown revitalization and all these things we're trying to bring. And without adequate public transportation it's not going to work," said Robinson.

      He expects services to be cut in Marlboro, Dillon, Williamsburg, Chesterfield and Marion counties, because those areas may have difficulties in giving more money to the organization.

      Marion County would have to come up with an additional $135,000 to continue routes from Marion to Myrtle Beach.

      Robinson adds the elimination of some services will have a devastating impact on the poor in the Pee Dee because so many people rely on PDRTA to get them to and from doctor's appointments and jobs.

      The transportation authority makes about 435,000 trips a year through its scheduled routes and demand responses.

      The authority receives federal and state grants primarily for capital equipment such as vehicles, according to its website. It says federal and state grants require a percentage of matching funds.

      In an interview with WPDE NewsChannel 15 last March, PDRTA's Director Charles MacNeil said the authority's Medicaid transportation services dropped from $4 million in 2007 to $1.5 million last year. PDRTA receives less than $90,000 per year from all cities and counties it serves in the Pee Dee.

      Since 1976, PDRTA has provided services in Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Marion, Marlboro and Chesterfield counties.