The U.S. Department of Transportation has released a $950,000 grant for the Westmoreland County Transit Authority, which is building a $6.8 million maintenance garage at its Route 66 site in Hempfield.
U.S. Rep. Mark S. Critz, D-Johnstown, announced the release on Monday. Grant funding was secured by the late John P. Murtha in the 2009 transportation appropriations bill.
A garage will be built to allow mechanics to perform maintenance on authority buses and to store the entire fleet of 37 vehicles indoors at the 10-acre facility being prepared for construction.
Automatic bus washers will be installed. The buses are now cleaned manually.
The authority purchased its maintenance lot for $2 million in 2006. Before then, maintenance of authority buses had been done in private facilities owned by contractors who operated the fleet for the authority.
Private contractors are hired by the authority to run the bus service. The current contractor, Forsythe Transportation Inc. of Gainesville, Texas, provides four full-time mechanics to service the fleet at the authority facility.
The majority of the construction project is being funded through federal and state grants. The authority has set aside $102,000 for its contribution.
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