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Transportation

City Officials: Transit Service Could Decline In 2016

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Amy Delamaide, flickr Creative Commons
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City officials say Wichita's bus system will see a decline in service next year without added revenue. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more.

The future of Wichita’s operating budget was presented to city council members on Tuesday morning.

Mark Manning, budget officer with the city’s finance department, says future budgets look to be balanced, but that future revenue growth won’t be enough to fill a reduction in transit funding.

“Transit has some challenges,” he says. “We are required to have a balanced budget, but we expect limited funding for stabilizing core services. The 2016 budget will likely include some significant (transit) service reductions.”

It’s not clear how significant these reductions will be. City officials have warned that an annual grant worth $2 million is expiring this year, and there’s not room in the budget to replace that funding.

Wichita Transit currently runs about 35 buses during rush hour, whereas similar-sized cities run up to 90 buses.

Manning also said that Wichita-Sedgwick County Planning could take a hit next year.

“Based on preliminary information that we received from Sedgwick County, their contribution level could be significantly lower than what would be required to maintain what we do now,” Manning says. “So that could cause a deficit in that fund.”

This piece originally aired June 16, 2015, during All Things Considered.

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Follow Sean Sandefur on Twitter @SeanSandefur