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Voters approve Niles Dial-A-Ride renewal

NILES, Mich. -- Voters were given a chance to decide whether or not they wanted a decades old transportation system in Niles to continue operating.

The Dial-A-Ride transit service asked for its millage to be renewed to keep fares low for riders. Well more than 40 years in the making, those Dial-A-Ride buses aren’t going to stop moving anytime soon.

The half-mill levy voted on by taxpayers Tuesday means homeowners with property totaling $50,000 will now see $25 in taxes come out of pocket.

The levy is expected to accumulate $93,000 in its first year to continue operations, but that funding doesn’t just come from taxpayers.

Aside from the transit millage, Dial-A-Ride is also funded by federal and state grants and passenger fares.

The vote is a big deal for riders who depend on getting around the city of Niles, specifically when they have no other option.

It provides service for elderly, those with a lower income and no transportation.

ABC57 News spoke with one voter in Niles who supports the renewal through and through.

“I support Dial-A-Ride. I really appreciate that when my wife was growing up in a less-than-wealthy family, she was able to get rides very inexpensively and it helped her to be able to get places and I think it’s a very good idea to give people who are less fortunate an opportunity to hold a job or be able to get places without a vehicle,” said Joel Barrett, a Berrien County voter and Dial-A-Ride supporter.

Based on Tuesday’s votes, Dial-A-Ride operations will continue with the 2-year renewal so this goes through 2019 and 2020.

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