TRANSIT AGENCY REJECTS PLAN TO TAP ITS INSURANCE FUND

TRANSIT AGENCY REJECTS PLAN TO TAP ITS INSURANCE FUND

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority voted down a plan to borrow

from its own self-insurance fund Monday. The fiscally strapped transportation authority set March 14 as the latest date for shutting down all bus and subway service.

With only one dissenting vote, NFTA commissioners rejected the proposal to borrow $2 million from the fund as fiscally imprudent, reported NFTA spokesman Daryl Rasuli."We already have a $1.5 million judgment on us, and who's to say there won't be others coming?" Mr. Rasuli said. The judgment, which stemmed from a bus accident, and the $2 million loan would reduce the self-insurance fund to just $900,000.

The NFTA, which runs Buffalo-area subway and bus systems, and the Erie County Legislature have been stalemated for months over the Legislature's failure to pass a transit tax.

The state is withholding $2 million in emergency aid until the Legislature acts. Since December, the NFTA has set several shutdown dates, but has been bailed out each time by cash advances from the county and federal governments.

The $2 million would have carried the authority through the end of this month, which is also the end of its fiscal year. Leonard R. Lenihan, the Legislature's majority leader, has said he expects a funding plan to be approved by then.