​Chatham Area Transit gives new fiscal year highlights

​Chatham Area Transit gives new fiscal year highlights

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham Area Transit has its priorities and budget set for the 2021 budget year, which begins in less than a week.

The millage rate, if approved by County Commission, will remain the same, but the fleet will get some new additions thanks to grant funding.

We spoke with a Chatham Area Transit leader involved in the budgeting process who said the focal 2021 budget is optimistic, cautiously though, and ready to adapt if needed in a very uncertain environment. And it also has a few key capital projects in the works.

For the first time ever CAT will have electric buses in the fleet, six in fact, along with the required charging infrastructure and mobile charging equipment when they need to be moved outside the County.

While electric buses cost more than traditional diesel buses, upkeep in the long-run is less pricey, and they’re better for the environment according to CAT. CAT will also add new paratransit vehicles, and start using a GPS system which will allow real-time bus tracking.

Of the $20 million price tag, $15.5 million will be covered by state and federal grant money. CAT’s CFO, Terri Harrison, talked about the service’s hopes for the first portion of the new fiscal year and how they’re preparing to adjust the budget if needed.

“We hope that over the first few months of FY21 the demand will come back and support our service levels. We are on standby to adjust either our service levels, or the way we provide service as the entire community reacts and responds to COVID-19,” said Terri Harrison, CAT Chief Financial Officer.

Harrison adds the funding is in place to provide stable service. CAT’s millage rate goes to County Commission for approval on Friday.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.