City of Tallahassee awarded $35 million in federal grants to support StarMetro projects

During a recent grant presentation ceremony, U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Christopher Coes (left) was joined by Assistant City Manager Christian Doolin, Commissioner Curtis Richardson, Chief Transit Officer Angela Baldwin, Fleet Management Director Jeff Shepard, Assistant City Manager Wayne Tedder, Regional Federal Transit Administrator Yvette Taylor, Ph.D., Mayor Pro Tem Dianne Williams-Cox, and Assistant City Manager Abena Ojetayo.
Photo submitted by City government

Special to the Outlook

At the national level, Federal officials recently recognized Tallahassee’s public transportation system StarMetro with funding that will go to future projects. 

Assistant Secretary Christopher Coes from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Regional Administrator Yvette Taylor, Ph.D., from the Federal Transit Administration were in Tallahassee last Tuesday to celebrate two grant awards.

“With strategic planning and support at the local, state and federal level, StarMetro is driving our community forward in an equitable, sustainable way,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dianne Williams-Cox.

Grant support of more than $20 million from the Federal Transit Administration will help StarMetro develop essential battery electric-infrastructure, add eight new battery electric buses to the fleet and develop a workforce training program to maintain the fleet.

“We know that this will help reduce emissions and improve mobility services for transit riders,” Taylor said.

With battery-electric buses comprising over one-third of the fleet and more being added, StarMetro continues to help reduce congestion, save energy and provide a cost-effective transportation option for residents.

“Public transportation has the power to shape communities,” said Commissioner Curtis Richardson. “As we continue to build a battery-electric fleet of the future, we are embarking on a major milestone for our city with the development of the Southside Transit Center.” 

A $15 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will support construction of the Southside Transit Center, enhancing access to public transportation as the City continues to grow safe, sustainable and reliable transportation for all.

“What you, Tallahassee, have done today is a model for the country. You’ve brought elected leaders, businesses and communities together to support something that will benefit everyone,” Coes said. “Tallahassee, you should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished.”

The Southside Transit Center, which will be located near the intersection of Orange Avenue and South Meridian Street, will include bus bays equipped with electric charging, bicycle and scooter racks, ride share spaces, ticketing and waiting areas and solar panels for self-sustaining energy.

“At the City of Tallahassee, we have prioritized providing equitable, sustainable public transit through StarMetro,” said Mayor John Dailey. “I’m immensely proud to see the strategic vision our City has set forth recognized and supported by the Federal Transit Administration with a $20 million grant. Combined with the $15 million RAISE grant for the construction of the Southside Transit Center, these funds will help us make significant strides toward our Clean Energy Resolution goals for public transportation.” 

This combined funding is pivotal to help StarMetro bring transformative projects to fruition and drive opportunities for our community.

“The City of Tallahassee is a national leader in the delivery of public service,” said Assistant City Manager Abena Ojetayo. “In line with our strategic plan, StarMetro plays a key role in providing an efficient, equitable public transit network supported by well-connected roads, sidewalks, transit amenities and public transportation for all.” 

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