U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood toured a significantly modernized and expanded River Cities Transit Facility in South Dakota today, which received approximately $5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the project and related transit improvements. Secretary LaHood was joined by U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff and state and local officials.
"The Obama Administration has made an unprecedented commitment to bringing transit maintenance facilities like this one into a state of good repair," said Secretary LaHood. "Here in South Dakota and across the United States, these investments in our public transportation infrastructure help reduce maintenance costs and ensure that today's riders and future generations can get to jobs, schools, medical appointments and other destinations."
The upgraded facility includes space to service and maintain nearly 100 buses and other transit vehicles in the River Cities Public Transit fleet. It also includes a new dispatch center with upgraded computer scheduling and GPS technology to better monitor and track vehicles to keep them on schedule.
The U.S. Department of Transportation provided approximately $5 million altogether for facility improvements and new transit vehicles from several discretionary grant programs, including $1.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; $1.6 million from FTA's FY2011 and FY2012 State of Good Repair Program; and $1.7 million from FTA's 2009 Bus and Bus Facilities Program. River Cities Public Transit also received a total of $369,300 through FTA's Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative to improve transit scheduling and outreach to transit-dependent veterans.
"As more people turn to transit to get where they need to go, it becomes even more important to keep our transit systems in good, safe condition," said Administrator Rogoff. "Because transit is a lifeline for many seniors, veterans and tribal residents living in Pierre, Hughes County and the surrounding region, it's vitally important to keep the buses they depend on efficient, reliable and in good working order."
The improved River Cities Transit Facility supports public transportation service within a 100-mile radius for people living in 11 counties in central South Dakota, including seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and the Cheyenne River Sioux and Lower Brule Sioux tribes.