(TOLEDO, Ohio) – Transit systems across Ohio are set to benefit from millions of dollars in Ohio Department of Transportation grant money awarded at the end of October.
A total of $105 million will be spread across dozens of transportation agencies to help with operations and improve access and mobility in the Buckeye state.
“We’re grateful that lawmakers recognized that public transit is an important mode of transportation,” Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks said. “These funds will help dozens of local agencies provide safe and reliable transportation to many Ohioans.”
For TARTA, the grants will help support purchases and operations acting as a local match to federal dollars.
$500,000 from the Ohio Transit Partnership Program (OTP2) award will be used to purchase biodiesel fuel. It’s a 50%/50% grant and these funds will be used to cover a portion of the overall cost.
$968,714 from the Urban Transit Program and E&D Fare Assistance Award could be used in different ways. TARTA has requested that $120,603 be used as a match for a grant to help the agency purchase electric vehicles. But, if TARTA isn’t awarded the funds in October, then that money will be spent on operating costs, like the remaining $848,111.
“As TARTA continues to maintain the current level of service while struggling with inadequate local funding, it is critical for TARTA to utilize grant funds for operating expenses – such as biodiesel fuel and for system improvements – that can be attained through Federal Grants with local matches coming from resources such as the ODOT grants,” TARTA interim general manager, Stacey Clink said.
Additionally, TARTA will also benefit from $3.3 million in state grants awarded to NEORide – a council of governments made up of 13 transit agencies, including TARTA, dedicated to the development and promotion of public transportation services.
Totaling $215,055, TARTA will use the money as a match to $1 million already awarded by the FTA to install validators fleet-wide to read digital passes purchased through the EZFare app. The move won’t cost TARTA or local taxpayers a penny.
“We really want to make seamless payment and transit accessible to everyone. By integrating validators into fixed our buses, we offer riders a better transportation experience,” NEORide spokesperson, Katherine Conrad said. “This project is just one of the critical projects that will help advance public transit in Ohio for the thousands of seniors, workers and disabled individuals who count on it every day.”
NEORide spearheaded the integration of the EZFare app which launched in the TARTA service area in June. Since then, thousands of rides have been associated with the technology, with hundreds of passes being sold every week.
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