Unanticipated funding for public transit in Greensboro was approved at the Greensboro Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (GUAMPO) meeting on Wednesday, March 10.
Federal transportation grants come with a time limit, and if the money isn’t spent, it is supposed to be returned. To avoid giving money back to the federal government, the North Carolina Department of Transportation takes unspent money back from Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) and gives other MPOs a chance to submit projects for funding that fit the criteria and can be completed before the federal deadline.
At the GUAMPO meeting, Greensboro Department of Transportation Planning Manager Tyler Meyer said that GUAMPO had applied for and been granted millions of this unspent money.
The GUAMPO board chaired by City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter voted to accept $1.9 million of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to purchase four new clean diesel buses for the Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA). The local matching grant for the buses is $475,000.
GUAMPO also voted to accept $2.1 million in CMAQ money to enhance the Sunday GTA service in Greensboro. Currently GTA Sunday service is provided on seven routes on an hourly basis. The CMAQ money will allow GTA to run the full 17 route system on an hourly basis on Sunday. This will make the Sunday service the same as the current Saturday service. The local matching funds for that grant is $541,000.
Under a separate CMAQ grant, GUAMPO was approved for $1.7 million for four additional clean diesel buses with a local match of $312,000.
Abuzuaiter said that the life expectancy of city transit bus is 10 years and some of the buses being replaced were purchased in 2009, making them past due for replacement.
Abuzuaiter also gave Meyer credit for finding and obtaining these extra dollars that were only available because other jurisdictions had not spent the money they had been allocated in the required time frame.