Local agencies watching fuel gauges

Bus transportation in Jefferson City has seen more ridership since increasing frequency, and perhaps because of increasing gas prices, as well.

Bus transportation in Jefferson City has seen more ridership since increasing frequency, and perhaps because of increasing gas prices, as well. Photo by Stephen Brooks.

As gas prices continue to climb and get near the $4 a gallon mark, local governments and other publicly funded entities are watching their budgets closely.

Cole County Auditor Jim LePage said the county budgeted $515,000 for fuel this year. But if prices would stay at $3.79 a gallon for unleaded and $3.92 for diesel an extended period of time, the county would be looking at a 26 percent increase.

The public works department, sheriff’s department and ambulance service would be the most affected, but LePage said they have reserves to help pay those costs.

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Meanwhile, Richard Turner, JEFFTRAN director, said there has been an increase in riders because of the upswing in gas prices in recent weeks.

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