Rep. Cuellar Announces $6 Million in Federal Funding for VIA Metropolitan Transit to Improve Bus Infrastructure in San Antonio
Funds will be used to consolidate VIA paratransit van operations and maintenance functions to new site, accommodating bus and van fleet expansion
Washington, September 25, 2018 | Olya Voytovich, D.C. Press Secretary & Leslie Martinez, District Press Secretary (Olya Voytovich 202-226-1583 & Leslie Martinez 956-725-0639)
Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced $6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to VIA Metropolitan Transit to improve bus infrastructure and operations in San Antonio. Grants through this program are intended to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment and construct bus-related facilities. VIA Metropolitan Transit will use this funding to construct an operating and maintenance paratransit facility through DOT’s Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program for fiscal year 2018.
The Congressman helped secure an increase by 76%, or $161 million, through the FY18 Consolidated Appropriations Act. In addition, the FY17 Bus and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program funded 139 projects to 52 states and territories, totaling nearly $264.5 million.
Improving Paratransit Operations
Currently, VIA’s bus and van operating and maintenance facility is the largest transit agency in the United States, operating both bus and paratransit fleets out of one single yard. As the region experiences an increasing number of individuals who rely on paratransit, it is imperative that they continue to keep up with demand. Specifically, the purpose of the new paratransit facility is to provide the space needed to combine all of VIA’s paratransit van operations and maintenance functions to accommodate their bus and van fleet expansion. Consolidating paratransit operations and maintenance functions in one location will greatly improve VIA’s operational efficiencies by including the following features:
Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program
Transit buses account for more than five billion passenger trips every year, providing vital connections to jobs and economic opportunities. Congressman Cuellar, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has continually supported this program, which designates that ten percent of all awards – $36.6 million in FY18 – go to rural bus needs in regions like South Texas. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) received $7 million in funding through this program, which is intended to be used to replace rural transit fleets.
“Proper infrastructure and transportation are vital to the growth of San Antonio,” said Congressman Cuellar. “That is why I have been working with my colleagues in the San Antonio Delegation, along with the City of San Antonio and VIA representatives, to ensure that federal funding reaches this much needed project, making vast improvements to our paratransit operations.”
Congressman Cuellar added, “This funding will help ensure that constituents have access to reliable and affordable public transportation, benefiting the entire community. I thank the San Antonio Delegation including Lamar Smith (TX-21), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Will Hurd (TX-23), and Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and VIA Metropolitan Transit for their dedication on this issue.”
Jeffrey C. Arndt, President/CEO VIA Metropolitan Transit said, "As our region grows, adding about 150 new people each day, VIA is planning for a fast-moving future while addressing the mobility needs of today. This award puts us a step closer to providing more efficient and effective service, particularly for our paratransit customers— the fastest-growing ridership segment in the communities we serve. We are grateful to our partners, and elected leaders, whose shared vision and support are driving VIA's commitment to innovation and a more mobile future."