The Port Authority might have not received good news yet from the Pennsylvania legislature about additional state funding to offset a deficit and avert layoffs, service cuts and a fare hike, but the transit agency has been awarded a federal grant that will cover two thirds of the $33 million cost to buy 53 new buses.
PAT entered into a contract in June to buy the new buses and applied for a federal grant to help pay for them.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $776 million worth of grants nationwide with the Port Authority receiving $22.7 million. PAT spokesman Jim Richie says the grant means the agency will not have to borrow as much money to pay for the buses. Richie says the average age of the fleet is 7 years about a year older than they would like. The new buses will replace vehicles that are 12 years old and have as much as 500,000 miles on them.
25 of the new buses will be the 60-foot articulated ones and the others will be the more typical 40-foot single section buses.
Richie says the grant cannot be used to help reduce the transit agency's projected $47 million deficit.
Meantime, the Cambria County Transit Authority received a $10 million grant for a new administration, operations and maintenance building.