Gov. Rendell: PA Awarded Nearly $9 Million in Federal Transit Grants

New Funding Hardly Makes a Dent in $484 million Public Transit Gap

HARRISBURG – Two transit projects that will improve transit service, livability and technology received a total of nearly $9 million in Federal Transit Administration funding, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today.

“We need these funds to help rural and urban transit agencies improve services for customers,” Governor Rendell said. “However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that these grants don’t come close to plugging the current and growing public transit funding hole. We need the General Assembly to act now to identify funding to replace and upgrade equipment, improve technologies and efficiency, and ultimately improve service for Pennsylvanians.”

PennDOT received $5 million to update technologies which support and enhance human service, curb-to-curb transportation services to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness statewide. Examples include acquiring paratransit scheduling and vehicle locator technology, automated telephone service, web-based trip scheduling and real-time information access. The grant is matched with $10 million in federal funding PennDOT receives for rural public transportation and $5 million in state discretionary funding. The grant will be distributed over the next five years based upon human service transportation providers’ need, readiness and commitment to implement efficiency measures.

This technology supports PennDOT’s human service transportation goals of improving the customer experience, maximizing service delivery efficiency and promoting cost containment — all goals which were identified in the July 2009 Human Service Transportation Coordination Study conducted jointly with the departments of Aging and Public Welfare.

The second grant is nearly $4 million to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, toward the cost of completely renovating the Wayne Junction Intermodal Facility, which was built about a century ago. SEPTA and the state are still working on identifying money to pay the balance of the project’s $20 million total cost.

“Closing the gap for paying for this important improvement is just one more reason why we need action now in the special legislative session on transportation,” Governor Rendell said.

Pennsylvania received the grants from a $163 million program administered by U.S. Department of Transportation. Winners of two competitive grant programs were announced yesterday in Washington. The two Pennsylvania grants were among 47 projects aimed at upgrading bus services and facilities through the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Bus Livability Program.

Pennsylvania’s Transportation Advisory Committee issued a report in May identifying $484 million in unmet public transit needs this year. The shortfall grows to more than $3 billion by 2029-30.

In addition to the two grants announced this week, PennDOT already is working with local transit agencies across the state to improve efficiencies and customer service, including:

• Adams and York counties and Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery counties — PennDOT is helping improve management efficiencies and designing multi-tiered fare structures. • Clarion County – PennDOT is helping to select another organization to propose and implement a new management design for Clarion County human service transportation.

• Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union counties – PennDOT will help facilitate discussions about coordination of services between these agencies.

• Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry counties – PennDOT will help facilitate discussions about coordination of services between these agencies.

• Greene, Washington counties – PennDOT will provide technical assistance to design a new business model to combine or consolidate functions between the two counties and create a satisfactory governance structure.

• Lackawanna, Luzerne counties and Hazelton – PennDOT will provide technical assistance to develop a full merger plan focusing initially on the three fixed route systems.

To learn more about Human Service Transportation in Pennsylvania, visit www.dot.state.pa.us and click on the “Bureau of Public Transportation” under “Public Transportation.” Information for transportation services available to seniors and persons with disabilities is also available at: www.PACommutes.com.


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