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PennDOT Joins with Local Leaders to Highlight Transit’s Importance to York Region

March 06, 2024 09:00 AM
By: Elizabeth Foose

​In a recent visit to York, PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll and officials from rabbittransit, the York County Economic Alliance, the United Way of York, and Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) highlighted how Governor Shapiro's budget proposal to invest in transit agencies would help connect south central Pennsylvania residents to opportunity.

Governor Shapiro's 2024-25 budget proposes $282 million for the public transit systems that Pennsylvanians rely on, including an additional $5.4 million in rabbittransit. This investment – the first of its kind in over a decade – would be achieved with an additional 1.75 percent of the Pennsylvania Sales Tax being deposited into the Public Transportation Trust Fund. 

"Nearly one million Pennsylvanians rely on public transit every single day. Public transit provides freedom and opportunity for millions of Pennsylvanians while making the Commonwealth more competitive," Secretary Carroll said. "That's why Governor Shapiro proposed the first major new investment in public transit in over 10 years. We have a historic opportunity to connect our communities, spur economic development, and create opportunity for generations to come. This investment will provide reliable public transit that can meet our residents' current and future needs."

On average, 64 percent of the people who use fixed-route services say that they have no alternate means of transportation. In the 10 counties served by rabbittransit – including York County – 69.4 percent of riders have no other option.

The Governor's proposal would invest an additional $5.4 million in rabbittransit in the 2024-25 fiscal year, not only stabilizing the services York depends on but also supporting improved service. With additional funds, rabbittransit could increase frequency on its 1W west York route giving current and potential riders more options and reliability to get to work and within the community. Increasing frequency on their 1E route in October 2023 led to 20 percent ridership growth on that route.

"Transit is the great equalizer" said rabbittransit Executive Director Richard Farr. "Providing mobility assists everyone to participate fully in society. It allows our friends and neighbors to access employment opportunities, medical needs, access to food and allows individuals to be connected to each other. It helps keep the economy moving."

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Public transportation services are available in every county in Pennsylvania, including:

  • Shared ride service in all 67 counties;
  • Fixed route bus service in 49 counties; and
  • Fixed route rail service in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. 

"The United Way of York County is setting out on a new, bold goal: assisting 8,000 working households to achieve financial stability by 2033," said Brian Grimm, president of the United Way of York County. "Transportation has been identified as one of the greatest barriers to achieving financial stability in the county. By convening, coordinating and funding efforts surrounding transportation, more working households can pursue opportunities for an equitably thriving community."

Further supporting York's economy, additional investment in rabbittransit would support creating a new vanpool focusing on second and third shift workers in York. These enhancements would help employers and workers, especially Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) residents for whom transportation may be a barrier to opportunities, childcare, and more.

"There is a direct correlation between access to transit and a stable, employable workforce. Employers and employees, educational institutions, social services providers, government, and our economy all depend upon it," said York Economic Alliance CEO Kevin Schreiber. "The Governor's proposal would ensure that access remains available and predictable which is essential to a thriving regional economy."

HACC's York campus is served by various rabbittransit routes, with roughly 14,000 annual trips to and from the campus. The Governor's proposal would help the agency ensure they don't have to cut routes or frequency to the campus.

"For the last 60 years, HACC has focused on helping change students' lives and the trajectories of their families. With over 110,000 alumni, HACC's story is one of countless successes," said Tim Barshinger, HACC assistant vice president for Student Enrollment Services. "As a result of this proposal, transportation will be one less barrier for HACC's current and future students, ensuring that HACC remains essential to the economic and workforce stability of York and Central Pennsylvania."

Learn more about public transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs through the Commonwealth's Find My Ride (FMR) tool. 

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