|Published:||Jul 31, 2012 4:26 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 31, 2012 4:31 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla.- LeeTran ridership jumped 17 percent for the first half of this yearfrom 1.6 to 1.9 million people but the agency didn't have room or the money to grow, until now.
"Everyday. Back and forth to work. Gotta be at work at 6:30 am," said LeeTran rider Ronnie Saracino.
Saracino depends on LeeTran to make a living. He's happy to see his tax dollars going right back into the system that serves the community.
"I'm looking forward to whatever they're going to do so that way it's going to make everybody happy," he said.
A five million dollar grant will help fund lee tran's new headquarters scheduled to replace its current 30 year old facility. Construction will begin at the 23 acre site off Evans Avenue later this year.
"Right now we're in a land locked four and a half acre facility with a 100 revenue vehicles, a number of staff vehicles, fuel lanes, maintenance sheds, administration building. That is one tight piece of property," said LeeTran Marketing Manager Joann Haley.
It's been a twenty million dollar year for LeeTran. That's the total amount of federal grant dollars its received to buy more buses, and help disabled veterans. This latest injection of cash will help the growing agency and the community as a whole.
"Everybody has different priorities but I think if you look nationwide the movement toward sustainability dictates that we've got to reduce our dependence on oil, we've got to do something about the congestion on our freeways and our streets and especially in urban areas, transportation is a big solution to those problems," said Haley.
The grant was one of 255 awarded to transit agencies throughout the country. LeeTran recently purchased 24 hybrid vehicles with a 13.9 million dollar grant. The hybrids will start arriving in October.