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      PDRTA passes budget, but still unsure of fate

      Board members with the Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority passed its $3.1 million budget this week.

      The board says it will still have to continue to cut services due to lack of funding.

      Earlier this year, the Transportation Authority cut nearly 70% of its budget due to revenue shortfalls, according to PDRTA board chairperson Ed Robinson.

      That resulted in the loss of 50 to 60 jobs and services.

      PDRTA now employees fewer than 40 people.

      Robinson said PDRTA's revenues started to decline several years ago when state officials changed the way they contract the Medicaid transportation program.

      A third party entity was engaged to broker Medicaid transportation services, Robinson said.

      The agency asked municipalities and counties that use its services for additional funding.

      The City of Florence increased its yearly contribution from $85,000 to $150,000.

      Florence County maintained its funding at $13,800.

      PDRTA is still waiting to learn if other cities and counties will contribute more this year.

      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.

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