March 3, 2009 - Tampa, Florida - Twenty-nine new buses will join HART's fleet within the next year, the Board of Directors voted at its monthly meeting on Monday. In addition, HART reported that bus ridership for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009 has remained strong.
Stimulus Funds Going to Numerous Projects
The federal stimulus package, known formally as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), includes $8.4 billion dedicated to transit projects, the HART Board learned on Monday. HART is expected to receive $15.1 million in ARRA funds.
At Monday's meeting, the Board approved using some of the funds to purchase 29 new 40-foot buses to replace vehicles that have reached their useful lives.
Projects and improvements to be funded by ARRA include:
Purchase of Buses and Paratransit Vans
Bus Stop Accessibility Improvements
Operations & Maintenance Facility Improvements
Streetcar Extension Utility Relocation
Fareboxes - Replacement and Expansion
Fleet Paint Rehab
Another $34,000 in Fixed Guideway Modernization Formula Funds (Section 5309) would be used for capital improvements to streetcar stations and tracks.
Ridership Still Strong
Despite falling gas prices, customers continue to board HART buses in steady numbers. Staff reported that fixed route ridership has increased 2.3% in FY 2009. In particular, HART's Commuter Express service continues to exhibit strong growth with ridership 21% above the first four months of FY 2008.
HART fixed route ridership should receive an added boost when service enhancements take effect at the end of March. Twelve off-peak and weekend service enhancements on eight routes will provide an 8.4% increase in weekly service levels. The improvements also include a significant upgrade to service from downtown Tampa to Westshore and Tampa International Airport by increasing weekday frequency on Route 30 serving TIA from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.
HART Mission Statement
Our Team is dedicated to providing excellent customer service while building solutions to support Hillsborough County's needs...now and into the future.
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