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Facing lower sales tax revenue than expected, the North County Transit District is considering further cutting bus service even though it had previously promised to maintain levels where they were, the North County Times reported today.

Sales tax revenue pays for 70 percent of the transit district’s operating costs, and the agency’s director said that money from that source fell $4 million short of earlier projections, forcing the most recent possible cuts.

At the MTS, officials say they expect to avoid additional service cuts and rate hikes, which have become more frequent in the last two years. Sales tax revenue is down there, too, and the problem’s been made worse by the elimination of state funding for transit systems.

Both MTS and NCTD got a minor boost in May, when a federal law tweaked spending requirements for transportation-related stimulus money. Each district was allowed to divert 10 percent of its share, previously earmarked for capital projects, toward operations. For NCTD, that was roughly $2.4 million. MTS diverted $5.6 million.

That money, MTS officials said, will allow operations to remain at current levels for the foreseeable future.

ADRIAN FLORIDO

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