Sept. 27, 2004 — Gov. Charles W. Turnbull recently announced that the Virgin Islands has received $2,413,183 from the U. S. Department of Transportation to enhance the V. I. Public Transit System.
"These funds," Turnbull said, "are intended to assist the government in the administration, planning and operation of the VITRAN bus service. The funding will also be used to purchase equipment for VITRAN's ADA Plus service."
According to Wayne D. Callwood, Department of Public Works commissioner, specifically the funds will be used for the purchase of new, medium to heavy-duty transit buses to replace the territory's aging fleet of buses. They will also be used to contribute to completion of the VITRAN maintenance facility on St. Thomas, the rehabilitation/renovation of the La Reine transfer terminal (Liston Sonny Barnes Transfer Terminal) on St. Croix, upgrade of the bus maintenance facility on St. Croix, and for the design and construction of a new maintenance facility on St John. Some of the funds will also go to VITRAN operations on all three islands, and provide program administration and training for all VITRAN employees.
According to a press release from the governor's office, a contractor has been notified to begin construction of the fixed-route buses. It is anticipated that they will be delivered by March 2005.
Of the sum, $1,472,291 represents three years of special Congressional earmarks requested by the governor in fiscal year 2002 to stabilize the transportation service. Annual appropriations in the amounts of $790,210 and $150,682 were awarded under the Federal Transit Administration's grant programs respectively, according to the press release.
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