The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) award was announced Friday afternoon by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
“This is 100 percent federal money, with no matching grant required,” said Gary Watson, Rideshare coordinator. “Our next step will be to bring this to the July 7 Board of Commissioners meeting for its official acceptance.”
Watson said $250,000 will be used to buy the 10 new vans for vanpool routes and $40,000 will be used to buy two staff vehicles.
One of these staff vehicles will be a hybrid (gasoline-electric) used by Rideshare personnel to attend meetings and conduct accident investigations, he said. The other will be a hybrid pickup truck used for vehicle maintenance.
“We currently have to use one of the reserve vans when we attend meetings,” Watson said. “This is not efficient for one person to drive a 15-passenger van.”
Watson said the other $50,000 will be used for maintenance and repair of vans and facilities.
Rideshare currently has 58 vanpool commuting routes serving about 600 people daily. Watson said routes range from Fulton Industrial to Gwinnett County and all metro Atlanta areas in between.
“We have five more routes in various stages of development, with some beginning on July 1,” Watson said.
More than $1.44 billion in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds have already been made available to 28 states since President Barack Obama signed the ARRA bill into law on Feb. 17, according to FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. The ARRA budget includes $8.4 billion for nationwide transit improvements.