Ozark Regional Transit looking for options in face of budget shortfall

Posted: December 1, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Passengers wait Wednesday to board an Ozark Regional Transit bus near the intersection of North School Avenue and West Center Street in Fayetteville.

SPRINGDALE -- Ozark Regional Transit is looking at a $338,000 shortfall in next year's budget and will likely have to ask for more money from the cities and counties it serves or cut routes and hours of service.

One toke over the line

Ozark Regional Transit has a new drug and alcohol policy for employees but, like many other entities, they’re trying to figure out how to deal with medical marijuana, which Arkansas voters approved last year. “If you’ve got a medical marijuana card, you’re gonna be shut out,” said Gail DeLancy, ORT’s human resources director. “You won’t be driving for ORT.”

At issue is marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug under federal law and ORT receives federal funds. Federal law also generally trumps state law, according to Tom Kieklak, attorney for the transit service. He said state and federal officials are trying to make their policies match. “It’s gonna take five or 10 years to figure it all out,” Kieklak said. “We’re going to figure it out. There may be a little friction, but we’ll figure it out.”

DeLancy said ORT has only had a couple people test positive for banned substances over the past two years and they no longer work for the transit provider.

Source: Staff Report

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