MEDFORD, Ore. — The Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) will receive upwards of $4 million in federal grants, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The money is part of the DOT Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) effort to modernize public transit across the U.S.
The state of Oregon will receive a total of about $6.5 million in grants—meaning that the Rogue Valley will be taking the vast majority. The only other agency in Oregon to claim any grants is the Salem Area Mass Transit District.
“Every day, working families across America rely on buses, and these grants will ensure that these vital services continue to be both safe and efficient,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
According to the FTA, the Rogue Valley will claim grants for two separate projects:
- $1,020,014 for the purchase and installation of 'signal prioritization technology' on the bust fleet and highway interchanges, aimed at providing more consistent, reliable service to riders. Since the technology is GPS based, riders can also see where the bus is in real-time, using a recently deployed app from the project sponsor—according to the FTA.
- $3,018,750 for the purchase of 35-foot low-floor CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles. This project will significantly improve system reliablity by replacing vehicles that are beyond their useful life, according to the FTA.
The DOT statement said that all grants are intended to replace, rehabilitate, and purchases buses and related equipment—as well as the purchase, rehabilitation, and construction of bus barns or related facilities.
“FTA is proud to help bring new and rehabilitated buses, facilities, and equipment to communities across the country,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “This marks a step forward in improving mobility for the millions of Americans who travel by bus to work, school, healthcare, and other services.”
The FTA received applications for 453 eligible projects, asking for a total of $2 billion in grants. After evaluation of those projects, a total of $264 million was awarded throughout the U.S.
Senators Merkley, Wyden, Walden and Schrader praised the federal investment in Oregon in a released statement.
“Transportation needs to remain a key issue in the Rogue Valley,” said Walden. “This Department of Transportation grant that will help secure 35 new regional buses will ensure the people in the Rogue Valley will have more timely options to commute to work, visit family and friends, and connect to transportation hubs throughout the region. I am proud to have worked alongside my Oregon colleagues, as well as Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, to help meet a real public transportation need in our local community.”
“Many working men and women rely on public transportation to get to their jobs, and when buses break down or can't run, it puts their livelihoods at risk. Investing in infrastructure doesn't just put people to work now, it helps people get to work for years to come, which is why infrastructure investments should be a top national priority,” said Merkley.