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Hinesburg proposes commuter bus service

HINESBURG - The Town of Hinesburg will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the town hall to provide information about proposed plans to provide weekday bus service from Hinesburg to Burlington and Bristol. The proposal is part of ongoing efforts by Hinesburg Rides, which sponsors a voluntary transportation program called Untied We Ride that has served the town for several years by providing individual rides to residents who lack transportation, and the Commuter Carpool Program.

Recently the Chittenden Transportation Authority (CCTA) and the Addison County Transportation Authority (ACTR) approached the town's Selectboard with a proposal to provide morning and evening bus service from Hinesburg. The first step in the process is voter approval at March's Town Meeting that would allow the town to become a member of CCTA, giving them a seat on the CCTA Board of Directors, and enabling CCTA and ACTR to pursue federal and state funds on their behalf.

The town would pay 20 percent of the total cost of service which would be $33,673 for a full year, plus a one-time expense of $37,000 representing their local share of the cost of two 28-passenger buses. Passenger fares have not been determined yet, but are generally in the $2-4.00 range for a one-way trip.

Hinesburg Rides Coordinator Karla Munson said the bus runs could be underway by 2011, if the townspeople approve the project. She is hoping for a good turnout at the informational meeting on Feb. 3 so they can present all of the facts and figures , including the cost to taxpayers, which she said would be approximately $14.00 increase on the tax bill for a $200,000 house. The proposal will then be discussed and voted on from the floor at this year's annual Town Meeting. "It will also benefit surrounding towns, who can drive to Hinesburg and park in our Park n' Ride and take the bus to Burlington or Bristol," Munson said, adding that it will also mitigate some of the traffic congestion in Hinesburg's center, reduce wear and tear on the roads and reduce carbon emissions.

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