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      Road ahead looks brighter for PDRTA

      The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority says their financial situation looks much better. Earlier this year, the authority cut 70% of its workforce.

      "The future looks a little brighter. We still have a lot of work to do. It looks like we'll be fine for this upcoming year," said Charles McNeill, PDRTA Executive Director.

      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.

      McNeill says board members and employees were successful in getting counties and cities to increase funding to the organization.

      "The message was heard loud and clear because we were able to go through the budget seasons with the cities and the counties where we will continue to provide services with significant increases in funding from those governmental bodies."

      He adds that the counties and cities realized the importance of PDRTA to people without adequate transportation.

      "All of those communities recognized the value and the significance of the story. And the consequences of what could happen if these services go away. You know the problems that would create with people that wouldn't be able to get to a job. Or unable to get to Francis Marion University or Florence Darlington Technical College. Unable to get to doctors appointments."

      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.