- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Memphis Area Transit Authority CEO Ron Garrison has told city officials that MATA is on the brink of collapsing and will need millions of additional dollars this summer to avoid having to make major cuts.

Garrison told a City Council committee on Tuesday that MATA needs $30 million in operating funds in the next fiscal year budget - a roughly $7 million increase - to avoid cuts in bus routes and service frequencies, The Commercial Appeal reported (http://bit.ly/1QkU7KD).

The authority also needs $5 million in city capital funds next year to replace 11 of the 60 buses it is trying to swap out, Garrison said.

“As we get these funds, we can actually bring MATA back from the dead,” he said before the meeting.

MATA’s request for more funds comes as Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland looks to propose a budget in April.

Garrison said MATA’s cumulative deficit since fiscal year 2009 is on track to reach $66 million by fiscal year 2018.

Faced with that deficit while trying to cover operating costs has led the authority for years to tap into reserves that had been meant for maintenance of buses, trolleys and facilities.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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