Sunset Empire Transportation District recently received funding from the Cares Act that the President signed into law on March 27th of which $25,000,000,000 was provided for public transportation. The Oregon Department of Transportation received $42,686,023 from the Cares Act and set up two funding programs for distribution to rural transit providers in Oregon and quickly made one available to help with immediate needs. Executive Director Jeff Hazen reported that the District applied for and received a little over $500,000 which was utilized for new staff hired to sanitize buses, material and services for increased disinfecting, staff paid leave and for lost revenue due to decreased ridership. Hazen said the second program available from ODOT is a Needs-based program which has $33,300,000 available, and rural transit agencies can submit 3 grant applications by December of 2020. Hazen reported that the District submitted a needs-based grant for $1,191,108 for the purchase of two remanufactured buses along with operational costs for a year and in July was awarded $861,000 for one bus and operational costs. This bus should be available in 6 to 7 months and will be used to pick up riders who may not be able to get on the regularly scheduled bus because of capacity constraints due to COVID-19 spacing requirements. Hazen said this grant will also be used for converting District restrooms from hand operated controls to touchless controls.
Hazen said the District is evaluating what projects will be submitted for the next two grant applications.
Executive Director Hazen also announced that the Northwest Oregon Transit Alliance which SETD, Tillamook County Transportation, Lincoln County Transit, Benton County Transportation and Columbia County Rider are partners in was recently awarded $ 187,000 to purchase disinfecting equipment that all five partners will be utilizing and is the first major collaborative procurement that the partners have embarked on.
For more information contact Jeff Hazen at 503-861-5399 or [email protected]