Jenkins Announces Federal Money for Public Transportation
Federal dollars are already pouring into West Virginia that will help increase public transportation access. U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins was in Huntington Tuesday to discuss how the FAST Act will help not just that city, but the entire state.
FAST stands for Fixing America's Surface Transportation. The FAST Act is a five-year highway bill that will bring dollars to West Virginia to rebuild roads, complete highway projects, repair bridges and improve rural transit programs. Improving those programs was the focus of the announcement at the Greyhound Bus Depot in Huntington. Congressman Evan Jenkins announced that over $2 Billion in funding will flow into the state over the next five years thanks to the FAST Act. $420 million in funding is already trickling into the state this year, and the amount will increase each year over the next five years, capping at $480 million. Jenkins said this money will help public transportation in not only Huntington, but throughout the state.
"In the federal highway bill there is special funding just for bus services and there are two major categories. It’s called the bus and bus facilities program and aggregate across the country that program is increasing by 89% over these five years, so it’s a real shot in the arm," Jenkins said.
Jenkins went on to say that the second category of the money is designated just for rural areas across the country, which he expects to help in a major way throughout the southern part of the state. Jenkins said many people don’t realize just how many West Virginians depend on public buses to get them to their jobs and doctor’s appointments each day.
Paul Davis is the general manager of the Tri-State Transit Authority in Huntington, they run the bus service in the city. He said the money will mean stability for the program.
"What is this going to do to us? It gives us planning money, opportunities to look into the future," Davis said. "Are we going to establish new routes? Are we going to do things that make TTA a safer place to be? This long-term transportation bill will give us those opportunities."
Davis hopes stability will show possible riders that they can make long term commitments to things like furthering their education because they know TTA will be there for them to ride.