Transit service may not reach goals

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Capital Area Transit System officials say they might not be able to deliver on some promises made ahead of last April's tax election because revenue is less than projected.

Gary Owens, chief financial officer, disclosed during a court hearing earlier this week that CATS can afford to add only two of the eight limited-stop routes promised during the campaign.

The Advocate reports the frequency of some buses on routes would be less than promised.

During their campaign to persuade voters to support a 10.6-mill property tax, CATS officials promised expanded and improved service. Among the pledges was the addition of eight new express and limited-stop lines serving the airport, universities malls and other areas.

Owens said implementation of six of the eight express routes has been postponed indefinitely.

Owens said CATS expects to receive about $6.6 million less in total revenue than initially projected.

The transit service expected it would generate about $18 million with the passage of the tax in Baton Rouge, Baker and Zachary. Combined with other state, local and federal revenue sources, CATS built its promises around projections it would have a budget of $30 million.

But Owens said CATS expects to lose the city-parish's annual contribution of $3 million, plus $600,000 from the parish transportation fund.

The remaining $3 million revenue loss is due to a variety of other factors.

William Daniel, chief administrative officer for Mayor-President Kip Holden, said the mayor's office is still preparing its budget for 2013 and could not comment on whether the proposal will include a subsidy for CATS.

CATS Board President Jared Loftus said the line has not been invited to submit a proposal as it has in previous years when funding was included in the budget.

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