In response to Pima County’s request that Marana chip in for bus service, town officials have offered $25,777 to help fund the area’s three express routes.

The county and the town have an agreement for bus service in Marana, and that figure is based on the number of miles the Sun Tran buses travel within town boundaries, Marana spokesman Rodney Campbell said.

It’s far less than the roughly $118,000 the county originally requested.

Marana already pays $347,200 to the county for bus service, said Marana Director of Community Development T. VanHook.

The disagreement over the compensation has to do with only express routes 102, 103 and 186.

“(The county) basically planned those routes and put them in place,” VanHook said.

The county contends Marana should pay for more than just the 1.3 miles the buses cut through the town.

“Sun Tran charges us the deadhead miles,” said Priscilla Cornelio, director of the county’s department of transportation.

The county argues that the distance the buses travel from the garage to the routes should be taken into consideration for payment.

The two sides are still negotiating a final price, but no timeline has been set as to when Marana and the county might come to an agreement.

Budget constraints prompted the county to ask for compensation in the first place.

One possible option is to re-route the buses so they do not stray into other jurisdictions.

“We have the money in our budget to operate the service,” Cornelio said. “If we wanted to change our routes, we’d have to hold public meetings.”

Not all routes in Marana are affected by the county’s request. Express route 391, which runs from the Arizona Pavilions to downtown Tucson, has a different sponsor, and Route 16 along Ina Road is not part of the county’s express route concerns.

Ridership has increased for the routes in the Northwest, especially among the express routes, which have seen full buses ferry riders to and from the center of the city, Cornelio said.

In fiscal 2007, Sun Tran logged nearly 19.5 million trips, up from 17.9 million the previous year.

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