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County to get share of federal transit grants awarded today

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By The Staff

SANTA FE – Los Alamos County will share in $2.7 million in federal transit grants that were awarded today.

Transportation Secretary Gary L. J. Girón has announced that the Department will award more than $12.1 million in federal transit grants throughout the state.

  “Last year the Department received a boost of approximately $26.5 million worth of Recovery funds, and we are pleased to see additional funding coming to the state,” said Transportation Secretary Girón. “It is evident with the success of Rail Runner and Park and Ride service that public transportation is a vital part of our state’s economy. We look forward to expanding public transit service throughout the state so that all New Mexicans can enjoy a convenient and affordable public transit option.”   “Over the last several years, public transit in New Mexico has grown exponentially,” said Transportation Commission Chairman Johnny Cope. “This additional federal funding will provide many opportunities to expand and improve public transit for several entities throughout New Mexico, providing citizens with a viable transportation option.”   Public transit passenger trips statewide total more than 15.2 million trips in 2009, and rural public transit trips have grown by 26 percent, reaching 1.4 million trips.   The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants for Fiscal Year 2011 will be awarded in the following transit programs:   • $9.5 million for rural public transit (FTA Sections 5309 and 5311) to 24 rural public transit systems throughout the state   • More than $1.3 million for buses and vans to 16 organizations to provide transportation to elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities (FTA Section 5310)   • $750,000 to organizations and transit systems to operate job access and reverse commute transportation (FTA Section 5316)   • More than $288,000 to transit systems for operations and capital for the new freedom program that supports public transportation services and alternatives that go beyond those required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (FTA Section 5317)   Transportation District Five will receive more than $2.7 million that will be awarded to Los Alamos County, the North Central Regional Transit District, Town of Taos Chili Line and Torrance County Project Office.     “It’s a great thing when local governments are able to utilize federal transportation funding within their communities,” Transportation District Five Commissioner Roman Maes III said, “Local, state and federal entities working together toward one transportation goal provides tremendous benefits for the traveling public.”     The federal grant funds are matched by $7.6 million in funds from local governments and other eligible matching sources.