Metro Transit Announces Receipt of $5 Million as Part of $920 Million Federal Grant
Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011
Metro Transit is excited to announce that it will receive $5 million dollars as part of a $920 million federal grant announced today by U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood intended to put Americans back to work repairing, rebuilding and modernizing the nation's transit infrastructure. These federal funds were awarded to more than 300 public transportation projects in urban, suburban and rural areas.
Mayor Paul Soglin called Metro Transit officials today to inform staff of this major announcement.
"I am very pleased that Department of Transportation officials listened to the City of Madison as they awarded this $5 million dollar grant," Soglin said. "At a time when Madison Metro ridership is increasing and state funds are decreasing, this additional funding will mean a lot to the citizens of Madison and surrounding communities."
Soglin is currently on his second trip to Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers and U.S. Department of Transportation officials to stress the importance of additional federal transit funding and its need in continuing the success of transit in the Madison area.
Metro Transit will use this money to add 14 new diesel buses to its fleet, upgrade aging farebox equipment on every bus, and to purchase 25 new transit shelters.
According to Metro Transit General Manager Chuck Kamp, this funding is especially important in order to continue Metro's yearly replacement of approximately 15 buses in its fleet.
"Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic decrease in federal capital funding," Kamp said. "Federal funding is not automatic for these capital purchases. This grant will allow us to continue with our yearly improvements to our fleet."
Metro will also use this grant money to purchase replacement fareboxes on every bus.
Metro's current fareboxes are more than 20 years old and have exceeded their useful life, Kamp explained. These new fareboxes will help us lower our maintenance costs, increase customer convenience with quicker boardings, improve ridership data, and give us the opportunity to upgrade sometime in the future to smart card technology.
Metro will also use this funding to add 25 new bus stop shelters. Metro currently has 200 shelters spread out throughout its system of more than 2,000 bus stops. New shelter locations will be researched and allocated to areas of high ridership and demonstrated customer need.
"We are extremely excited to be receiving this grant," Kamp said. "Metro is looking at an all time ridership record in 2011. We will use this money to improve our fleet so that mass transit continues to thrive both now and into the future in the Madison community."