It's not every day that you learn the federal government is going to help purchase new buses, replace fare boxes and add 25 new bus stop shelters, but that was the case this week in Madison.
While in Washington D.C. this week I was very happy to learn that Madison is receiving $5 million as part of $920 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reports that the funding will repair, rebuild and modernize the nation's transit infrastructure. In Madison, that means 14 new diesel buses. All of the fare boxes on the city fleet will also be replaced, a much-needed upgrade. Additionally the city will be able to provide 25 new transit shelters so our riders can get some relief from the elements while waiting for a bus.
This funding is especially exciting because ridership is increasing on Madison Metro, actually approaching all time records, and state funding for the service is declining.
Keeping lines of communication open between Madison and the federal government has been a priority for me and I actually learned about this competitive grant award while on my second trip to our nation's capital to meet with lawmakers and U.S. Department of Transportation officials. I hope these trips made a difference but credit also goes to Madison Metro for the great service provided. Our bus service is something that is often taken for granted, but it truly improves the quality of life in Madison.