Oshkosh gets $1.2 million federal grant for public transit

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY)- Northeast Wisconsin is getting a big boost from federal grants to improve public transit.

Oshkosh Go Transit buses (WBAY photo)

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced $264 million in grants for nearly 140 projects nationwide. Wisconsin received $2.6 million of that.

Oshkosh received the majority of that, with $1.2 million in grants for Go Transit to buy new buses.

"Every day we're helping people get to work, to get to school, to get to medical appointments -- those are three top trip purposes -- so for our regular riders it's extremely important we have reliable vehicles," said Oshkosh Transportation Director Jim Collins.

Go Transit provides about a million trips per year.

Appleton received $350,000 to buy new buses for Valley Transit and renovate its operations and maintenance facility.

Valley Transit General Manager Ron McDonald added, "We have some renovations within our facility. We need a new emergency generator, we need to do some upgrades on our HVAC system and things like that, so that's where it will end up going."

Sheboygan also received $350,000 to upgrade its maintenance facility.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation received $134,000 for upgrading bus security cameras, fare collection and radio equipment on buses in five rural areas and another $181,000 to purchase new vehicles for the department.

As for why Oshkosh was selected, Collins said, "I think it's a build up, number one, of the number of times we've applied and not received the funding, and number two the condition of our buses was getting in pretty poor shape. We have some frames that are rusting out and engines that have failed."

Each community has up to four years to utilize the grant money.

Go Transit hopes to have its new buses on the road by the middle of next year.

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