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State gets $11M in federal money for bus improvements

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin is getting $11.3 million worth of federal money to improve public transportation.

The money will go toward four projects intended to replace old buses and improve service for riders throughout the state, especially in rural areas, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Janesville will receive $2 million, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin will receive $180,000 and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will receive just over $5 million. Appleton will also receive money.

The money is part of a more-than-$366 million grant package the Federal Transit Association recently awarded to more than 100 projects in the U.S. to improve the safety and reliability of bus systems.

Janesville will buy five new buses, said Rebecca Smith, Janesville transit director. It may take the city between 18 to 24 months to acquire the vehicles, which will use clean diesel and be fully ADA compliant, she said.

“We want to keep our fleet moving forward,” she said. “So we can have better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, less replacement costs and higher reliability.”

The Menominee Department of Transit Services will buy three new buses with the money. Those buses will most likely start running sometime next year, said Timothy Reed, department director. It will help the department bring the service, of which 200,000 riders make use annually, up to date, he said.

“We do have low-income, elderly and handicapped individuals, and providing the public transportation that the (Menominee transit) department provides is essential so they can access recreational opportunities, doctors appointments and just getting to work.” Reed said.

The state Transportation Department will use its money to purchase buses for rural transit providers. The department is accepting applications until Dec. 13. Recipients will be notified if they will be awarded money early next year.

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