Essex County receives half million for public transportation

ELIZABETHTOWN When Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced more than $30 million in transportation grants, Essex County received a share of the funding pie. Spitzer announced $30.7 million in state and federal transit funding Feb. 5. The funding is for urban and rural public transportation systems to purchase new, clean-fuel buses and support infrastructure improvements to transit facilities. Essex County will receive $555,760. Essex County transportation coordinator Nancy Dougal said the funding was for capital equipment. She called the funding very important, since it would allow new buses to be purchased to expand the transportation offered by the county. We're going to make the best use of it we can to provide transportation to the general public, said Dougal. The $555,760 is federal funding. There will also be another 10 percent match coming from the state, and a 10 percent county match. The amount is for all of the Essex County operators, which includes the village of Lake Placid, Olympic Regional Development Authority and the town of Keene. Essex County will use a share to fund the One Call Center by using it to purchase the necessary software, two or three midsize buses with wheelchair lifts, bus stop signs, and for a marketing plan. The county is working on new bus routes at this time. Dougal said county officials were trying to increase ridership and decrease duplication of services by county departments that provide transportation, like Office for the Aging and Department of Social Services. We have many cars, and they're all out there where it might be better to use a bus, said Dougal. The cillage of Lake Placid will purchase a new trolley or possible a new midsize bus. The village, ORDA and the county are working on bus routes to connect the villages of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid along with a route that will connect the towns of Jay and Wilmington to the Lake Placid area. ORDA will purchase two midsize buses. We are all working together to bring better public transit to Essex County with connections, possibly a hub for connector routes, said Dougal. Also included in the funding was $380,800 for Franklin County.

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