Poughkeepsie council expected to reject merger of bus service

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POUGHKEEPSIE – The Poughkeepsie Common Council likely will reject a city administration plan to merge the city’s bus system into Dutchess County’s Loop bus service.  That could come at tonight’s regular council meeting.
Councilman Christopher Petsas, who has opposed the plan, said the city’s Transportation Strategic Committee conducted its own study and is opposed to the merger.  He said even though the city budget only appropriated funds to cover a half year of operations, if the merger is rejected, there is no way the lawmakers will allow the service to end.
“I believe there is enough money in the budget to actually keep the buses running regardless of a budget amendment,” Petsas said. “The state comptroller’s office indicted through a report last week that the city had $2.4 million in expenses that were over-budgeted so if that is true, then $125,000 out of $2.4 million, we would have the money in the budget right now.”
The Transportation Strategy Committee’s study said there are “too many questions of possible civil rights liabilities” in a merger dealing with federal Title VI compliance. Title VI requires detailed data analysis of any disproportionate impact of the proposed changes, on protected classes of riders and service areas – low income, minority, limited English proficiency and disabled.