PVTA gets $2.4M to upgrade garage

  • An officer speaks with the driver of a PVTA bus that hit a parked car in downtown Northampton. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/10/2018 8:55:35 AM

SPRINGFIELD — A 1908 building that is used by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority as its fixed-route bus maintenance garage will be overhauled using a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and PVTA Administrator Sandra Sheehan gathered Tuesday at the PVTA Lobby at Union Station to announce the award. The money, from the Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program, will allow the 110-year-old garage to be transformed into a space for both maintenance and paratransit operations.

Neal said the investment program is competitive and congratulated Sheehan for securing the money, which he said would provide continued safe and reliable transportation for the region.

“This is great news for the PVTA as they continue to grow and adapt to the needs of their ridership,” Neal said.

Sheehan explained that the rehabilitation of the building will allow for the consolidation of paratransit operations and maintenance, improving efficiency and prolonging the longevity of the PVTA’s vans by keeping them stored indoors and away from the elements.

“Protecting and maintaining PVTA’s assets is a vital component to providing services that are safe, convenient and reliable to our passengers,” Sheehan said.

Over the summer, the subcontract to operate PVTA’s fleet of vans moved from Hulmes Transportation in Belchertown to National Express in Springfield.

The federal money awarded doesn’t have any impact on the reduced routes or fare increases that were implemented this year to counter a projected deficit in PVTA’s operating budget.

Calling it a “nice complement” to the renovation of Union Station, Sarno praised Neal and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey for helping to secure the money. Sarno also said that intermodal transportation is important for Springfield, a sentiment that was echoed in statements issued by both Warren and Markey.

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