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Salisbury Transit receives grant to replace buses

SALISBURY — The city’s Transit Department has received a $480,000 grant to buy buses and equipment, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Monday.

Salisbury received funding for one of three projects totaling $24.5 million in grants to North Carolina entities from the Federal Transit Administration, with others going to the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation.

The city plans to purchase four low-floor, light-duty buses to replace four heavy-duty buses. Equipment that includes fare boxes, destination signs, bike racks, camera systems and voice announcement systems will also be replaced.

The total project cost will be $600,000, which includes a local match of $120,000.

“We are very fortunate to receive this grant to help improve the efficiency of Salisbury Transit,” said Rodney Harrison, Salisbury Transit director. “There is a tremendous unmet need for bus replacements. “

Harrison said that replacing older buses in a timely manner is vital to keeping the system running as effectively and efficiently as possible while also improving safety and providing better customer service.

A description of the project provided to the Post says more modern buses will support the city’s “ultimate goal of improving service in Rowan County and our region, especially along Interstate 85 and Highway 70.”

The largest chunk of grant money — $17.3 million — will go to the N.C. Department of Transportation on behalf of several rural transit systems. The $17.3 million will replace older vehicles and renovate public transportation facilities for those transit systems.

The Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation, which serves Burlington, Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem, will receive $6.8 million to purchase new vehicles, too.

The $423 million awarded nationwide will fund items related to bus systems. An estimated $1.9 billion in total funding requests from 270 applicants in 43 states and territories were made.

In a news release about the grant applications, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said, “Public bus systems throughout the country provide millions of Americans access to jobs, health care, grocery stores and other vital services.”

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