Middletown Area Transit Officials Announce New Cuts to Bus Routes - NBC Connecticut

Middletown Area Transit Officials Announce New Cuts to Bus Routes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Middletown Area Transit Officials Announce New Cuts to Bus Routes

    DP

    (Published Thursday, June 22, 2017)

    Middletown Area Transit officials said lack of state funding is causing new cuts to bus routes and financial strain, while city officials said the money troubles may have come from money mismanagement. 

    "We work on a break-even budget," said MAT Adminstrator Andrew Chiaravallo.

    Shiaravallo said the transit system servicing 400,000 annual riders has funding problems and next month riders will feel it.

    "If we don't make these cuts July first then we'd be putting ourselves in a position to totally shut down," Chiaravallo said.

    The July first cuts eliminates the mid-day and night service of M-Link.

    The route running between Middletown and Meriden during the week.

    Another cut will be the elimination of all night service.

    "Cutting that would be a big blow," rider Garri Saganenko said.

    MAT said they've had financial issues for years, claiming their funds come from federal, state and municipal sources. But this year, during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, troubles mounted, in part, because the Department of Transportation cut 2 percent of MAT's funding.

    A 2 percent cut the DOT also gave to 15 other transit districts, according to DOT officials.

    With years of financial strains, city officials like Middletown Mayor Dan Drew are asking, if MAT had money problems for years, why were city officials alerted of these problems just last month?

    "We first tried to work this out in-house, and tried to resolve it, but it didn't work," said Chiaravallo.

    "Saying you are going to take care of it 'in-house' and not letting anyone know, is tantamount to saying, you want to take care of it so nobody knows it was going on," Drew said.

    Since MAT is not a Middletown city entity, officials said they have limited control. They can appoint board members, but cannot hire or fire anyone. They can also ask for MATs financial data to see how money is being handled, which officials did.

    "Since the state and Middletown don't have any direct or executive control over the organization, this information is helping us figure out how we can help the people that rely on this service," Drew said.

    While city officials analyze how deep MAT's money problems go, riders may not be only ones dealing with a bumpy road ahead.

    "We analyze the cuts and see if it's enough to continue, but if its not enough, we may have to cut more," Chiaravallo said.

    "Their ship hit an iceberg, it's going down, it's taking on water, and they waited until the tip of the bow was sticking up out of the water, until firing off their flare gun," Drew said. 

    City officials believe a new terminal built in recent years may have not had proper financial planning. This could be a reason for some of MAT's financial strains. MAT says they understand riders are concerned, and have the riders best interests in mind. 

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