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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Norfolk votes to join regional bus authority

NORFOLK

The Norfolk Board of Selectmen voted yesterday to join the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority, or GATRA.

The vote means that Norfolk could see buses rolling through the streets of Norfolk as soon as this spring, said Jim Lehan, chairman of the Selectmen.

Lehan said that contracts and bus routes still need to be worked out, and that GATRA’s board needs to vote to accept Norfolk’s bid to join.

Town officials have wanted bus service for years, Lehan said, but it was only made possible this June when the state passed legislation allowing towns to redirect to regional transit authorities a portion of the fees they currently pay to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

In effect, Lehan said, Norfolk has been paying the MBTA for bus service it does not receive. "We used to call them the phantom
buses," he said. GATRA currently serves 17 communities. Franklin also recently voted to join the authority.

-– Calvin Hennick

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