Grand Forks receives nearly $8 million for public transportation infrastructure improvements
The announcement came from the office of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer.
GRAND FORKS – Nearly $8 million is coming to the city of Grand Forks to help pay for upgrades to the city’s public transportation system.
The announcement came from the office of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, who noted the award of $7.76 million from the Federal Transit Administration.
“Funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to deliver wins for North Dakota, from airports and bridges to drinking water and transportation projects,” Cramer said in a statement sent to the media. “These dollars will have a noticeable impact on our communities, and this grant will improve public transportation facilities in Grand Forks.”
City Administrator Todd Feland told the Herald it was “very good news.”
Specifically, Feland said, the grant is for Phase 2 of a project of expansion and renewal to public transit in Grand Forks. It’s especially noteworthy, he said, since the funding cost share is 90/10 – the federal government pitching in 90% to the city’s 10% – as opposed to 80/20, which is typical. For example, the city previously received FTA funds for Phase 1 improvements at the traditional rate of 80/20, Feland said.
According to Cramer’s office, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $2 billion for North Dakota roads, bridges and highways, as well as a number of projects across the nation, including passenger and freight rail upgrades and broadband infrastructure improvements, along with projects related to cybersecurity, flood/drought mitigation, pipeline repair and highway safety.
Grand Forks Public Transit Director Dale Bergman said Phase 2 is the most expensive of the two-phase upgrade. According to Bergman, the project will remove an underground fuel system and put it above ground on the back side of the building.
"Currently, we refuel diesel buses inside the building, which is not a very safe thing to do. But back when the building was put up in 1978, it was legal," Bergman said. "The fuel capacity will be increased so we can get tanker loads of fuel and save money on volume discounts and work off the state bid pricing for both the diesel and unleaded fuels."
Also, a wash bay — one large enough for buses and all city vehicles — will be added. Bergman said rainwater and/or snowmelt from the roof will assist in vehicle washing, and solar panels will be added for energy needs.
There also will be an addition to a building for bus storage.
"This project will put this facility into a good state of repair for the next 35 years," Bergman said Tuesday.
Feland on Tuesday credited Bergman for efforts to improve local services.
“The Grand Forks and East Grand Forks communities, as part of our metro service, owe (Bergman) a huge thank you for all he has done to provide terrific public transportation services of City Bus and Dial-A-Ride and recently incorporating UND services and supporting the Grand Forks School District in their times of transportation need,” Feland said. “Dale has done a masterful job of renewing and modernizing the City Bus and Dial-A-Ride fleet and the Public Transit Facility for the current and future generations.”