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7 midstate counties considering merging transit agencies


Photo by Ben Allen/witf

(Harrisburg) — Seven midstate counties are exploring either sharing public transportation services or creating one regional agency. 

Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, Perry and York counties are considering a more cooperative approach. 

If the counties choose to share services, consultant Arlene Friner says costs would increase.

“You’ve got increase positions in the shared services entity to perform those functions. Those additional people will create incremental costs,” says Friner.

“It’s those responsibility gaps if you will that shared services is intended to pick up the slack if you will, and fulfill those responsibilities of a shared concept for the transit systems that would participate in that kind of a concept,” says Walt Desidorio, who ran a study on the scenario with Friner

Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste doesn’t buy their conclusion.

He’s pushing for regionalization, even though it would mean some job losses.

“You have attrition, you have ways to deal with it,” adds Haste.

“You offer early retirement. We’ve done consolidations here in the county. Others have done it. It can be done, and it can be done without costing money.”

Haste says he wants Berks, Lancaster and Schulkill counties to join discussions.

“If we’re going to do it, you know, I drew on my map and I think you saw that, it’s clear a 10 county region fits the bill better than what they’re doing now,” says Haste.

He says consolidating could encourage more tourism in Hershey, Lancaster and Gettysburg.

There’s no timetable on moving to shared services or regionalization for the midstate.

The public transportation agencies in Berks and Lancaster completed a merger about seven months ago.

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