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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Committee approves $2 million for local transit

From a news release isssued by State Sen. Julie Lassa:

Madison—The Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee [JFC] today approved more than $2 million in federal stimulus funding to provide vehicles and support services for public transit programs in Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield and Plover, State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) announced.

The funds were part of an overall allocation of more than $11 million in transit funding to non-urbanized areas throughout the state. The local funding includes nearly $1.6 million to provide three hybrid buses for the City of Stevens Point. Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield and Plover will get funds for vehicles for their shared ride taxi programs.

“These stimulus funds will be put to good work for the people of Central Wisconsin,” said Lassa, a JFC member who voted to approve the funds. “Public transit not only offers individuals an economical way to get from place to place, it reduces traffic and pollution, and helps us reduce our dependence on foreign oil— especially with energy-efficient hybrid vehicles. At the same time, the purchase of the vehicles will help stimulate the economy overall. It’s a smart investment in our transportation infrastructure.”

Of the $81.4 million in stimulus funds Wisconsin will receive under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for transit, the Act requires the state to allocate just over $20 million to non-urbanized areas with populations of less than 50,000. Today’s action fulfills the ARRA’s requirement that 50 percent of those funds be allocated within 180 days of initial award. The state has nearly a year to allocate the remaining portion of transit funding under the stimulus bill.

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