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CAT says buses pumped $11M into region in 2016

System also names new board members

Capital Area Transit contributed $11,210,134 to the region's economy last year, according to a report released Tuesday. - (Photo / Roger DuPuis)

Capital Area Transit officials say the bus system had an $11 million impact on the region’s economy last year, with more than half that amount in the city of Harrisburg.

Those figures reflect wages and salaries and goods and services purchased during the year, according to an economic impact analysis completed by CAT’s finance department and released Tuesday.

Including Harrisburg service taxes, CAT’s overall economic contribution to the capitol region reached $11,210,134 in 2016, the agency said.

In other news, the agency’s board of directors also named two new members, according to an announcement released by board Chairman Eric Bugaile.

Scott T. Wyland, a land use, zoning and business attorney with the law firm of Salzmann Hughes PC, has been appointed to the CAT board by the Cumberland County Commissioners to represent Cumberland County.

Richard D. Kotz, parking administrator for the City of Harrisburg, has been appointed to the CAT board by Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Harrisburg City Council.

“These two new appointments will strengthen the CAT board of directors as we plan for the future transit needs in the one thousand square mile capital area served by Capital Area Transit,” Bugaile said.

Economic impact

The system serves more than 2 million riders each year.

“CAT contributed more than $6 million to the city of Harrisburg economy,” spokesman Robert Philbin said, discussing the economic impact report.

More than 100 CAT employees live in the city, which is a little more than half of the transit system’s workforce (55.2%), he said.

The rest of the workforce lives elsewhere in Dauphin County (11.1%), in Cumberland County (14.7%) and other locations (18.9%).

“Our people live and work here, and we understand the fixed route and paratransit needs of our neighbors,” he added.

CAT’s study also included a comparison of the system’s impact vs. cost by jurisdiction:

Cumberland County

Contribution: $2,087,479

County’s cost for services: $305,308

Dauphin County

Contribution: $1,167,621

County’s cost for services: $347,794

City of Harrisburg

Contribution: $6,244,050

City’s cost for services:$226,071

“Public transit investment has a significant impact on the local economy and community and economic development throughout our service area, which is an important part of the total societal benefits associated with public investment in Capital Area Transit,” Philbin said.

Demand for public transit throughout the midstate has been growing, but so has interest in different operating structures.

Some entities within the system’s service area have been looking at options for regional consolidation with other transit agencies. And Cumberland County in 2015 partnered with York County-based Rabbit Transit for shared-ride services, and that system has grown to provide services in five counties.

CAT was incorporated in 1973, when the Cumberland County and Dauphin County commissioners and the City of Harrisburg organized the agency to provide fixed-route and paratransit shared-ride services for the area.


• Gross wages by jurisdiction:

Cumberland County – $1,776,877

Dauphin County – $877,182

Harrisburg City – $5,814,170

Other locations – $1,710,884

Total – $10,179,113

• Goods and services by jurisdiction:

Cumberland County – $310,602

Dauphin County – $290,439

Harrisburg City – $399,932

City service tax – $30,048

Total – $1,031,021

Total 2016 CAT gross wages, goods and services: $11,210,134

Source: Capital Area Transit

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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