City of Gainesville awarded $10.6M in federal transit grant funding

Press release from City of Gainesville

The City of Gainesville Department of Transportation has been awarded $10.6 million in grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This week, the FTA announced the award of $409 million for 70 transportation projects in 39 states. Only two Florida municipalities were among the list of recipients – Gainesville and Pinellas County. 

Of the total award, $6.6 million will be used to purchase 12 replacement buses for the Regional Transit System fleet. The remaining $4 million will be dedicated to build an eastside transfer station to serve as a major connector between East and West Gainesville. 

“Each and every day, our neighbors rely on RTS for safe, efficient, and reliable public transportation to get to school or work or run errands,” said Gainesville Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry. “This award builds on that commitment and on our strategic efforts toward revitalizing East Gainesville,” she said. 

The new buses will include upgrades such as better fuel efficiency, seats made out of material that is easier to clean, and non-slip floors. The RTS team will switch out buses based on mileage and age. 

“This is wonderful for the community that we are getting updated vehicles,” said Community Service Specialist Tom Idoyaga. The current RTS fleet includes 132 buses, and once the new buses arrive in about 15 months, Idoyaga said, “This will be the newest fleet we’ve ever had.” 

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The federal grants stem from a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that boosts bus transit funding by $10 billion during the next five years in order to modernize America’s transit bus fleet. FTA reported that it received more than $2.5 billion in funding requests, more than five times the amount of funding available under the previous law. 

“Transit agencies are replacing aging buses and facilities with newer, cleaner infrastructure that is more efficient to operate and maintain,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Modern buses, especially those powered with electric batteries or fuel cells, improve air quality and help us address the climate crisis.”

In the past, the City has received five grants from the FTA, including one in 2012 for $38 million to build its main administration, operations, and maintenance facility.