San Luis Obispo RTA operations and maintenance facility secures first rural initiative TIFIA loan through USDOT

Sept. 9, 2020
The new operations and maintenance facility, which is scheduled to be complete in 2022, will house the authority’s operations, administration, dispatch and vehicle maintenance.

The San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has secured a $13.08-million loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Rural Project Initiative (RPI), which is the first time the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded a loan through the initiative.

The new operations and maintenance facility will house San Luis Obispo RTA operations, administration, dispatch and vehicle maintenance and will play a vital role in the authority’s ability to deliver safe, reliable transit services for San Luis Obispo County. The Stantec-designed facility broke ground earlier this summer and is being constructed by Specialty Construction.

When complete, the facility will offer three times the space the authority currently has. It is designed to meet California’s Green Building Code and will include parking for up to 67 public transit vehicles, five repair bays, parts storage, locker rooms and allow for future inclusion of battery electric bus chargers and a solar canopy.

The $31-million project will be financed with $8 million in grants, including a $6.285 million Federal Transit Administration Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program grant in 2018, and $25 million in loans.

“This $13.08 million federal investment reflects the president’s continued emphasis on rural infrastructure and will provide residents in the San Luis Obispo area with better access to jobs, healthcare and other services,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

USDOT says it launched the RPI program to assist rural communities in overcoming financial barriers that slow infrastructure investment in rural America.  Under the RPI, an eligible borrower can receive a loan of up to 49 percent of eligible project costs at half of the prevailing U.S. Treasury rate. And while funding is available, USDOT will cover the cost of its advisor for the loan, which is typically a fee charged to applicants.  

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.