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Bellefonte to withdraw from CATA services next year, some residents voice concern

A CATARIDE vehicle and bus sit in front of a garage.
Anne Danahy
A CATARIDE vehicle and bus sit in front of a garage. Bellefonte Borough, Spring Township and Benner Township are withdrawing from CATA's services in 2025.

Bellefonte is joining Spring and Benner Townships in a move to withdraw next year from the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) services, citing rising costs. Some residents are urging the borough to find another solution for public transportation.

Nancy Noll lives in Bellefonte. She spoke in front of borough council members on Monday ahead of the decision.

“I'm here to beg you to continue to try to pursue an answer that will work for everyone. I understand that we can't print money, and I understand that CATA is holding us hostage," Noll said.

Noll also noted that Bellefonte is the county seat, housing the Centre County Courthouse.

"We have an obligation to people all over the county to be able to get to Bellefonte. If not a legal obligation, at least an ethical obligation that everyone should have access to the courthouse," Noll said.

The borough said the costs for CATA’s modified “B-line” service, which starts on July 1, will at least double over the next few years.

Council member Joanne Tosti-Vasey was the only vote against withdrawing from CATA services. She said the borough should have had a concrete plan before making a decision.

“If we pull out of CATA, CATA told us it is unlikely that we will ever be allowed back in again," Tosti-Vasey said.

Tosti-Vasey said she liked another council member’s idea to work with other municipalities through the Nittany Valley Joint Planning Region Comprehensive Plan to provide a separate transportation system. But, council members said it is difficult to find funding streams for transportation operations.

Sarah Romage is CATA's Public Relations Specialist.

"We are disappointed with the Borough's decision and the impact it will have on those who rely on CATA. Nevertheless, starting July 1, we are prepared to introduce the B-line service to Benner Township and Bellefonte and will operate this service through June 30, 2025," Romage said. "We will continue to engage in discussions with both municipalities regarding the provision of future service within the area."

Bellefonte will exit CATA services on June 30, 2025.

Sydney Roach is a reporter and host for WPSU with a passion for radio and community stories.