Contact: Paul Griffo
TOLEDO, Ohio – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that Toledo is receiving a $3.4 million grant to replace 43 small buses that provide service to people with disabilities with more fuel-efficient vehicles. The grant will also help provide “call-a-ride” service in suburban areas.
“The Obama Administration is committed to providing better transportation options for all Americans and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Secretary LaHood. “A clean, efficient transit system is especially important for people with disabilities and older Americans who depend on transit.”
The new more fuel-efficient vehicles will replace most of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority’s (TARTA’s) aging paratransit fleet. Thirty-eight of the new vehicles will provide service to persons with disabilities who cannot access Toledo’s regular city bus service, and five more buses will serve customers in the suburbs who use call-a-ride service, including seniors, students and other non-drivers.
“Getting around town is a challenge when you can’t drive—but it makes matters worse to have to ride in vehicles that aren’t reliable,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, who was in Toledo today to award the grant. “Now the people of Toledo will have a cleaner and safer alternative to go see a Mud Hens game, to see a concert at Huntington Center, or to attend class at one of the area’s many universities.”
The $3.4 million grant is from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) $776 million State of Good Repair Initiative, which is funded from formula and Bus Program account and was developed to shore up repair and maintenance backlogs that FTA identified within the nation's transit systems. Today’s grant announcement means that TARTA has met all the federal grant requirements and is now eligible to use the funds.
The new vehicles can accommodate 10 to 12 passengers with room for up to four wheelchairs. Many of the vehicles being used by TARTA for these services were often taken out of service for maintenance and repairs because they were well beyond their useful life, some not having been replaced in more than 20 years. TARTA, which provided 3.3 million rides last year, has 122 regular fixed route buses and 56 paratransit vehicles. Because of high gas prices, the agency has seen a steady increase in ridership.
The FTA recently announced that it is making $750 million in State of Good Repair funds available from the formula and Bus Program in 2011.