06/16/09 — GATEWAY to get $1.4 million from stimulus

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GATEWAY to get $1.4 million from stimulus

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 16, 2009 1:46 PM

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GATEWAY driver Ronald Coley, left, and employee Oswald Adams wash one of six new vehicles added to the rural side of the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority.

The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority will receive $1,461,222 in federal stimulus funding to purchase new vehicles, beef up its preventive maintenance program and to pay for other additions.

The total breaks down to $576,000 for the rural side of the authority's GATEWAY transportation system and $885,922 for the urban side of the operation.

And the Duplin County Transportation will receive $163,900 for two lift-equipped vans and one 20-foot lift-equipped light transit vehicle replace similar vehicles and for preventive maintenance for a fleet of 14 vehicles.

Wayne and Duplin counties are among 140 transit projects across the state that will receive more than $103 million in federal stimulus funding to enhance or expand transit options in both rural and urban communities. The funding was announced last week by Gov. Bev Perdue.

Twenty-one urban transit systems will receive more than $70 million for 77 projects.

Projects in rural areas across the state totaled more than $33 million. Three projects benefit transit efforts statewide, and 63 are designated for rural transit systems/areas of the state. These projects are expected to create or retain more than 3,200 jobs.

The state Department of Transportation received a total of $838 million in federal stimulus money, including $735 million for highway and bridge projects. To date, the DOT has allocated more than 90 percent of the highway and bridge money.

The $576,000 on the rural side of GATEWAY will be used to pay for three replacement 22-foot lift-equipped LTV's, one expansion 22-foot lift-equipped LTV, 24 mobile radio/hand-held radio units and a preventive maintenance program for a fleet of 23 vehicles.

The breakdown includes $200,000 for preventative maintenance, $84,000 for the radios and $73,000 for each of the new vehicles.

Authority Director Alan Stubbs said he was not surprised GATEWAY would get the money.

"My understanding is that it will be available after July 1. I think we came out real good for what we asked for," Stubbs said.

He had sought $674,313 for the rural operation.

"It is going to save money next year. There are still a lot of hoops to jump through, they don't just give you the money. The idea is to create jobs and stimulate the economy," he said.

Stubbs said he is unsure how many more people will be employed, but that he knows some will be added.

Stubbs said is please with the $200,000 for preventative maintenance. Currently, GATEWAY does not have anyone dedicated to preventive maintenance. The $200,000 will include hiring someone to oversee that program.

"What I am trying to do is to gear up for when we move into our new maintenance facility," Stubbs explained.

How soon that will happen and where it would be located have yet to be determined. GATEWAY officials have expressed an interest in the old W.P. Rose site north of downtown for possible use as a maintenance facility.

While some preventative maintenance is included in the GATEWAY rural budget the other items that the federal funding will pay for were not, Stubbs said.

Along with enabling the system to buy the buses the stimulus funding means they can be purchased without the usual local funding match. In this case, stimulus money is saving GATEWAY $256,400 that otherwise would have to be paid as a local match.

The radios that will be purchased will allow the bus drivers to communicate with the county's new communications system when it goes on line.

On the urban side, the $885,922 will be utilized to purchase two 35-foot buses costing $350,000 apiece.

Another $20,000 is for preventive maintenance; $25,000 for bus shelters and bus stop signs; $90,000 for electronic fareboxes for six buses and the transfer station; and $50,922 for security cameras and radios for the buses.

"The big thing is the two large buses because otherwise we would have been unable to get them," Stubbs said.

Again, he pointed out, if a grant was being used to buy the vehicles it would cost the city $70,000 in matching funds.