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Wisconsin gets $11M in federal funds for bus improvements

September 30, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin is getting $11.3 million in federal funding to improve public transportation.

The funds will go toward four projects intended to replace old buses and improve service for riders throughout the state, especially in rural areas, Wisconsin Public Radio reported .

Janesville will receive $2 million, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin will receive $180,000 and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will receive just over $5 million. Appleton will also receive funds.

The money is part of a more than $366 million grant package the Federal Transit Association recently awarded to more than 100 projects in the U.S. to improve the safety and reliability of bus systems.

Janesville will purchase five new buses, said Rebecca Smith, Janesville’s transit director. It may take the city between 18 to 24 months to acquire the vehicles, which will use clean diesel and be fully ADA-accessible, she said.

“We want to keep our fleet moving forward,” she said. “So we can have better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, less replacement costs and higher reliability.”

The Menominee Department of Transit Services will purchase three new buses with the funds, which will likely be operational sometime next year, said Timothy Reed, the department’s director. It will help the department modernize the service that sees 200,000 riders annually, he said.

“We do have low-income, elderly and handicapped individuals, and providing the public transportation that the (Menominee transit) department provides is essential so they can access recreational opportunities, doctors appointments and just getting to work.” Reed said.

The state Transportation Department will use its funds to purchase buses for rural transit providers. The department is accepting applications until Dec. 13. Recipients will be notified early next year.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

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