September 14, 2009
The classifieds in this issue include two chief executive officer positions!
Recovery Act Funds Benefit Transit Construction
Public transit agencies are using their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds in a variety of ways beyond purchasing buses and rail cars. For example, these systems must keep their station escalators operating properly and their maintenance and storage facilities current and in good repair, mitigate environmental effects, and ensure that they provide the safest possible service.
The $6.8 million in ARRA funds received by Los Angeles Metro will go for the installation of five canopies at escalator entrances to three Metro Red/Purple Line stations: Civic Center, Pershing Square, and Westlake/MacArthur Park. While the main purposes of the canopies are to protect the escalator machinery from exposure to bad weather and to reduce the incidence and frequency of equipment failures and replacement, thus enhancing passenger safety, the canopy design will enhance and maintain the architectural integrity of each station.
City Utilities of Springfield, MO, plans to use $1.4 million of its ARRA funds for the design and construction of a new maintenance facility. Carol Cruise, transit director for City Utilities, explained that the transit system is part of a utility company and that the current maintenance site—located in a historic structure—also provides service to the rest of the utility fleet, such as riding mowers and its current maintenance campus.
The system operates a fleet of 30-foot vehicles, Cruise said, but future purchases may include 35-foot or 40-foot buses.
“We’ll have a need, with the expanded bus fleet, for a better way to park the fleet and a more efficient way of maintaining the buses,” she noted, adding that a larger structure would allow the transfer of money to the farebox vault to occur indoors rather than outside as at present.
Cruise said the first step in the process will be a Request for Proposals for design work. While the historic status of the current building means that it will not be torn down, other structures will be demolished to allow for the expansion of the maintenance campus.
Broward County Transit (BCT) in Pompano Beach, FL, received a $35.1 million ARRA grant, which it will use to redesign the Ravenswood operations and maintenance facility, obtain real-time paratransit fleet monitoring and fixed route single sign-on technology, and implement bus stop enhancements.
Of the total, $17.9 million will go toward renovating the facility in Dania Beach, FL, which is currently at capacity and needing upgrades to both the parking lot areas and the maintenance buildings. BCT is preparing for the arrival of additional 60-foot articulated buses and must upgrade the structure to meet federal guidelines on underground storage tank removal and replacement.
BCT will use other ARRA funds to bring its bus stops and shelters into compliance with all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. It will also add such street furniture as benches and trash receptacles; bike racks at selected locations; landscaping enhancements; transit signage; lighting; and real-time transit information incorporated when feasible and powered by solar energy. The agency expects the project to generate an estimated 159 jobs, of which 94 will be direct construction industry jobs.
BCT Director Robert Nelson said: “We are excited by the prospects this funding will have, not only by contributing to job growth, but also its potential benefits to our environment by encouraging transit usage and clean energy technology.”
In Los Angeles, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), operator of Metrolink commuter rail, received $21.9 million through APTA; $17.5 million of the amount will fund Positive Train Control (PTC) improvements, and the balance will cover safety and capacity upgrades such as the replacement of approximately 5,000 feet of rail on the San Bernardino Line; rehabilitation of two grade crossings; and new communications components in Riverside County.