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Loss in Medicaid funding threatens rural bus service

Photo: WHCU

Tompkins County lawmakers will discuss Tuesday how a change in Medicaid funding has impacted bus service in the region.

Bus systems once relied on Medicaid funding to get people to medical appointments, money that made up a large portion of their revenue.

County lawmaker Dan Klein represents the West Danby area, which he says has been impacted by the change.

“Tioga County does not have a single hospital in it, so a lot of patients in Tioga County came to Ithaca when they had Medicaid appointments,” Klein said. “That was pretty much 100 percent of the funding of their whole bus system.”

Klein says the loss in funding could mean the end of Tioga County Transit bus service.

Klein and other lawmakers plan to ask the state to address the funding gap in order to support bus service in rural areas.

“What we want them to do is to recognize that upstate rural bus systems are in imminent danger of collapse, and we want the state to address it in some way,” he said. “If it’s not through Medicaid funding, then let’s look at some other revenue streams or some other ways of keeping bus systems alive in upstate.”

The Tompkins County Legislature will discuss the issue at its Tuesday meeting at 5:30 p.m. They plan to address their concerns in writing to the governor.

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