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A $150,000 state and federal grant will help Chautauqua County upgrade its rural public transportation system, State Sen. Jess Present, R-Bemus Point, announced Monday.

The grant, from a federal program that helps fund operating and capital costs for rural transit systems, comes at a time when the county is looking into consolidating its remaining bus systems. The Chautauqua Area Rural Transportation System already has picked up additional service in the Jamestown area, since the city abolished its bus system.

The county is reviewing request for proposals for a system to serve Jamestown, Dunkirk and all rural areas, but there has been no recommendation yet for either a private management company or an expanded system.

Present said the funding is part of the first installment of a new, four-year capital program that will upgrade and enhance transportation services throughout New York State. "As a result, Chautauqua County will be able to take the lead in providing rural transit services for people who live in areas that are currently underserved," he said.

"These improvements will also have a positive impact on our local economy because a sound, reliable transportation network gives business and industry an added incentive to expand or locate here and create new jobs," Present said.

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