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      PDRTA set to cut 70 jobs on April 11

      In February, the Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA) announced it had to cut jobs and services because of budget concerns.

      PDRTA will now cut 70 jobs on April 11, according to the SCWorks layoff notifications website.

      The jobs include longtime bus drivers, mechanics and some administrators, PDRTA Board Chairman Ed Robinson said.

      "Out of high school. They got a job with PDRTA and have been here since. Now they've got 20 to 25 years and all of a sudden, bam, I don't have a job."

      Robinson says there's no way around the cuts.

      He added that they are depending on counties and cities in the areas they serve to increase funding.

      According to Robinson, PDRTAs revenues started to decline several years ago when state officials changed the way they contract the Medicaid transportation program.

      Robinson adds a third party entity was engaged to broker Medicaid transportation services.

      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.