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Politics

Feds Roll Out the Bucks for Florida Transit Projects

July 22, 2012 - 6:00pm

Florida landed more than $50 million of the $787 million that the federal government doled out Monday for bus line and transportation repair and construction projects.

The funding distribution comes on top of the $1.8 billion the feds dished out for transit projects in the prior two years.

In an election-year press release styled to cheerlead for the president, U.S. Transporation Secretary Ray LaHood said this: President Obamas support for an America built to last is putting people back to work across the country repairing and upgrading our nations public transit systems.

By investing in the transit infrastructure people depend on to get where we need to go each day, we will keep our economy moving forward well into the future.

For Florida, the latest round of subsidies means --

$15 million: The Gainesville Regional Transit System will continue to build its transit system maintenance, operations, and administration facility. Completion of the facility will aid expansion of current services and add services such as BRT and express routes.

$1.05 million: Escambia County will replace paratransit vehicles that have met or exceeded their useful lives. The new vehicles will be equipped with vehicle camera technology safety systems. Acquisition will also include scheduling software to more effectively manage a fleet with zero spares.

$878,500: The Gainesville Regional Transit System will replace farebox collection equipment that has met or exceeded its useful life with electronic media that will make service more convenient and faster to handle than paper currency.

$1.6 million: Florida Department of Transportations Ride Solution will replace seven of the buses in its current fleet that are past their useful life, in order to improve reliability, reduce emissions, and reduce maintenance costs.

$280,000: Flagler County will replace vehicles in its fleet that have met or exceeded their useful life in order to better serve riders in one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation.

$3.36 million: The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority will replace paratransit buses with new vehicles that will provide reliable, efficient service for a dense population with a high percentage of senior riders.

$200,000: Polk County Board of Commissioners will alter bus stops and/or shelters that are inaccessible or difficult for disabled people to use, in order to bring bus stops and shelters into full ADA compliance.

$2.6 million: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will replace buses that have met their useful lives with buses powered by clean diesel hybrid-electric propulsion systems outfitted with automatic vehicle location features, real-time passenger information, and other state-of-the-art features that improve operations and safety.

$5 million: Lee County will replace its current 30-year-old facility with a new LEED-certified transit administration, operations, and maintenance facility to address capacity constraints.

$10 million: Miami-Dade Transit will replace diesel buses that have met or exceeded their useful lives with hybrid-electric buses that will reduce fuel costs, lower emissions, and provide a comfortable, reliable ride for residents in this major urban area.

$401,440: Broward County Transit will construct 13 bus shelters. Each shelter includes solar panels for lighting at night. These shelters will support the city of Tamarac, which has transit service supplied by Broward County Transit.

$1.15 million: Indian River County will construct a new intermodal transit station. The station will accommodate bike and pedestrian access, and will be adjacent to future planned passenger rail service. Sustainable building materials will be used.

$4.7 million: The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority will renovate the 21st Avenue heavy vehicle maintenance building, including replacement of shop equipment in a facility not renovated since 1982, to bring it up to code and improve safety and efficiency.

$4 million: HART will replace diesel buses and gasoline vans with new and additional CNG buses. Vehicles to be replaced will have met or exceeded their useful lives and new vehicles are also needed to accommodate an increase in paratransit services.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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