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Cumberland Wisely Fuels Piedmont Area Transit

In football, PAT stands for “point after touchdown.”

Locally, PAT stands for Piedmont Area Transit and Cumberland's decision to appropriate $10,000 to keep the bus running in the county will transport its people across goal lines in real life, not some game.

They will score jobs, medical care and other necessary goals that are available when someone without their own vehicle has access to public transportation.

That $10,000 will allow Piedmont Area Transit, or PAT, to provide service to the entire county during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

No wonder Cumberland residents attending that June meeting of the Board of Supervisors responded to the funding vote with cheering applause.

Without that appropriation added to the budget, PAT would have ceased serving Cumberland as of July 1. Now, for a fare of one dollar PAT will take Cumberland residents where they want and need to go.

The decision seems to have immediately preserved the jobs of several Cumberland residents working at STEPS, whose executive director Sharon Harrup told the County in a letter that three Cumberland residents “will most likely” lose their jobs due to a lack of transportation, an inability to get to work at STEPS, without Piedmont Area Transit.

Ms. Harrup had written to tell the Board of Supervisors about her “deep concern” with what had been Cumberland's earlier decision to eliminate all funding for PAT, which would have ended the public transportation service in the county.

“As you may remember, this regional system was created to fill the void left when Central Virginia Transportation went out of business. Since then, the transit system has provided excellent service to our region. The positive impact this system has on Cumberland County citizens is vast,” Ms. Harrup wrote.

A $10,000 appropriation to provide a vast positive impact is money extremely well spent.

Last year, Board members were told, 1,781 riders used PAT to go to doctor's offices, the pharmacy, the social security office, with the majority using it to go to work.

The end of public transportation in Cumberland would have had a devastating effect on those who lack their own means of transportation that so many people take for granted. Ten thousand dollars could not have purchased anything more important for the people of Cumberland County than preventing such devastation.

Seeing Cumberland Supervisors work together to appropriate funds for PAT feels very good because it helps the people in such a direct life-shaping way.

Cheering applause for that decision and teamwork was appropriate.

-JKW-