Access Scioto County (ASC) will receive some $63,000 in funding to purchase a new vehicle in 2017, according to Larry Mullins, manager of ASC. Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $6,691,634 to the Ohio Department of Transportation to purchase 112 replacement vehicles for Ohio’s Rural Transit Providers, which operate public transportation systems in communities across Ohio.
Brown said ODOT awarded these funds through the Sec. 5339 Buses and Bus Facilities competitive grant program which Brown secured in the long-term transportation infrastructure bill signed into law in December 2015.
“It’s something that happens pretty much every year,” Mullins said. “We apply for the Rural Transit Program and they build in your operating and and also your capital funds in there. This year ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) has gotten smart and they found a different pot of money from the feds in order to supply the capital for replacement vehicles and things like that.”
Mullins said, by utilizing Sec. 5339 instead of the usual 5311, which frees up more money for rural transportation to go around the state. He said Sec. 5339 has been around for a long time, but has been used more for large urban systems.
“Kudos for them for trying to pull as much federal money down as they can,” Mullins said.
Brown touted the funding and its effect on rural bus systems.
“In rural Ohio, public transportation gives people a level of mobility that many of us take for granted. Reliable transit service takes Ohioans to work, connects people with their doctors, and helps seniors get to the grocery store,” Brown said. “Replacing outdated buses and vans with new, modern vehicles will help ensure that Ohio’s rural communities have access to safe and reliable public transit.”
Ohio has 34 Rural Transit Providers including Scioto, Pike and Ross counties.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.