State awards funds for bus transfer center
Grand Valley Transit was among the first groups in the state Tuesday to win a grant for various transit projects from the Colorado Transportation Commission.
The money Grand Valley Transit will receive, $800,000 for a new transfer center, comes from a controversial measure approved by the Legislature last year that increased vehicle-registration fees.
Although much of the money from those increased fees, about $125 million a year, is for repair of the state’s worst roads and bridges, up to $15 million a year is intended for transit projects.
Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said funding transit projects helps reduce congestion on the state’s highways, which reduces maintenance and construction costs.
Todd Hollenbeck, manager of the Mesa County Regional Transportation Planning Office, said the money will help offset some of the local match Grand Valley Transit will need to get in another grant to pay for the rest of the $5 million project, which will be built near Mesa Mall.
Hollenbeck said the county previously was awarded a $1 million federal grant to purchase two acres near 24 1/2 and F 1/2 roads for the transfer center. The new state grant, which the county won’t officially receive until next summer, will be used with funds from the county, Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade.
The facility would include a new terminal for Greyhound bus lines, Hollenbeck said. The current terminal is at 230 S. Fifth Street.
“We have some federal money right now to acquire the property, but not much more than that in terms of construction,” Hollenbeck said. “We’re about $4 million short for the rest. There is a grant request in through the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies that would provide that money if we’re successful.”
Hollenbeck said if that grant doesn’t materialize, Grand Valley Transit will go ahead with the project, but in phases over several years. The agency would purchase the land with the first federal grant and use the $800,000 state grant and a $200,000 match from the four local governments to build a smaller facility .
“If we’re able to acquire the property, then we can do a portion of this project for $1 million,” he said. “That would entail doing site prep and a very general transfer station where there’s shelters and a nice waiting area, but there would not be any actual facility.”
Grand Valley Transit was one of 30 projects statewide to receive a state grant, out of 111 applications. The grants, which totaled about $21 million and will be given out over three years, went to such projects as park-and-ride facilities on the Front Range, an Amtrak passenger waiting area in Lamar and a transportation-operations center in Avon.