August 31, 2009
The APTA web site is undergoing some changes, effective Sept. 1. To access the classifieds after that time, click here.
ARRA Funds Continue to Support Transit
What agencies do public transportation American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds go to? And how do the agencies use those funds? The answer to both questions is: it depends.
For example, the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) in Chattanooga, TN, will use its $4.7 million grant to refurbish its Incline Railway, which provides passengers with a scenic ride up the side of Lookout Mountain.
Veronica Peebles, CARTA manager of communications, explained that while the Incline Railway dates to 1895, the authority has operated it since its creation. As the railway travels up the mountain, it eventually operates at a 72.7 percent grade, making it the steepest passenger railway in the world.
The Incline Railway operates between two stations, the lower within the Chattanooga city limits and the other above in the city of Lookout Mountain. It has been designated both as a National Historic Site and a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and, according to Peebles, the railway itself “serves as one of the attractions for the Lookout Mountain area.”
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in Salt Lake City is using part of an ARRA grant for another unusual form of public transportation—six two-wheeled Segway electronic scooters, which UTA police can use to patrol TRAX light rail platforms and FrontRunner commuter rail platforms. Gerald Carpenter, senior media relations specialist with UTA, called the deployment of Segways “a very quick and easy way for officers to move around downtown and also patrol the parking lots and FrontRunner.” The authority purchased six of the vehicles at a cost of $7,900 each.
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District will use $3.2 million in ARRA funds for improvements to Golden Gate Ferry’s Sausalito Ferry Landing. Components of the project include replacement of passenger access ramps, vessel docking float, and ferry vessel boarding gangways to improve passenger access. The agency reported that the ferry landing renovation will result in approximately 100 new jobs.
Lastly, a different kind of ferry—a “foot ferry” that carries only passengers and no vehicles—received ARRA funding as part of a $2.9 million grant to Kitsap Transit in Bremerton, WA. Cathie Knox-Browning, executive assistant/clerk of the board for Kitsap Transit, explained that the ferry service between Bremerton and Port Orchard is a demonstration project and its continued operation depends on available funding.
“We applied for the stimulus money because the ferry project seemed an appropriate use of the funds,” she said.