Springfield City Utilities celebrated the opening of its new bus maintenance facility on Boonville and Locust Friday. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and has this report.
Inside the 27,000 square foot facility, attendees that include city, state and federal officials stand on a 9-inch thick concrete floor. The heating system below is designed to keep temperatures a comfortable 55 degrees in the winter. The building features multiple garage doors, 25 feet high, which when closed, allows an air exchange unit to cycle in fresh air six times per minute.
Mike Peters, chairman of the Board of Public Utilities, says public transit has been a part of the Springfield community since 1881.
“We broke ground here about a year and half ago, and that was to replace a facility that was 100 years old. Well you can imagine what buses were like 100 years ago, and what public transportation was like in the City of Springfield. Well this facility accommodates the new buses, the buses that are taking us into the 21st century,” Peters says.
Officials say this modern facility is designed to improve security, efficiency, and safety for customers and employees. Bus maintenance will be streamlined with cleaning and fare removal completed nightly in one location. The facility houses ten new busses in this fleet, acquired over the summer. They replace ten buses from the 1997 fleet, which had each accumulated over 600,000 miles on average.
Scott Miller is general manager for City Utilities.
“Public is critical to this community and to our customers. It gets them to and from work. It takes them to the doctor, to school, and it takes them wherever they need to go within Springfield. And it really, truly does provide a valuable public service,” says Miller.
Mokhtee Ahmad, regional administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, says federal grants totaling $9.1 million dollars paid for this project.
“The funding sources for this project came from our discretionary grant programs. And one of the discretionary grant programs was the American Reinvestment Act of 2009. It provided about 1.5 million dollars,” says Ahmad.
Ahmad congratulated all parties involved in the project for completion ahead of schedule and within budget.