WRTA will get $3.51 million of the $4.65 million in funds for systems in the region.

By David Skolnick

WRTA will get $3.51 million of the $4.65 million in funds for systems in the region.

YOUNGSTOWN — Three area transportation systems will receive $4.65 million from the federal stimulus package.

Of that amount, the Western Reserve Transit Authority, based in Youngstown, is getting $3.51 million.

Some $2.2 million will be spent to renovate and expand the bus services’ administration office on lower Mahoning Avenue in Youngstown.

The agency will use $1.08 million to buy 12 smaller buses — 28 feet long — and five minivans to expand service, probably in Boardman, Struthers and Campbell, said Marianne Vaughn, WRTA’s secretary-treasurer. WRTA is also receiving $230,435 for maintenance costs needed at its facility, Vaughn said.

The vehicle purchases and the construction work to WRTA’s administration office will help create jobs as well as provide public transportation for those needing to get to and from their places of work, Vaughn said.

“I’m happy with this funding,” said Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams. “I would hope WRTA and the other agencies can someday create a unified transportation system.”

The Niles-Trumbull County Transit system is to receive $524,919 in federal stimulus funding to provide transportation for students at the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, said Mark Hess, Niles coordinator of engineering, grants and development.

The students are transported to job and job training sites.

Those students were transported to those destinations during the 2007-08 school year using a federal Job Access and Reverse Commute grant. But that grant money ran out. TCESC will provide a 50-percent match, and the transit service will provide the transportation.

Also, $616,815 in stimulus money will go for the Shenango Valley Shuttle Service that provides bus transportation primarily between downtown Sharon, Pa., and the Shenango Valley Mall.

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that $8.4 billion was being made available for public transportation from the $787 billion federal stimulus package.

Ohio is receiving $179.8 million, and Pennsylvania is getting $343.7 million.

“These funds will create jobs, promote economic development and improve mass transit,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Avon, Ohio.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Youngstown, Warren and Mahoning County would receive about $4.4 million federal stimulus money for housing needs. Also, an Ohio National Guard training center in Newton Falls is to receive stimulus money to make it more energy-efficient, saving about $78,000 annually in utility costs.


XCONTRIBUTOR: Vindicator Staff Writer Denise Dick

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