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The Idaho Transportation Department received 30 grant applications from rural transit providers for its 2020-2022 federal grant cycle, the department stated in a Monday press release, and public comment is being sought to determine a select number of finalists.

In 2019, applicants requested a total of $68 million in funding from the ITD—but only $22.3 million is available to support rural public transportation organizations across the state.

The Mountain Rides Transportation Authority is one such applicant. In November, the organization requested $640,000 from the ITD’s Vehicle Investment Program to fund the purchase of two battery-electric transit buses. The light-duty, 20-passenger buses would replace two of Mountain Rides’ depreciated diesel buses and cut down on carbon emissions, according to executive director Wally Morgus.

“In the most recent year, MRTA’s fleet logged around 500,000 service miles,” Mountain Rides stated in its application. “To maintain that fleet in a state of good repair, MRTA needs to be continually replacing buses.”

In fiscal 2019, annual MRTA ridership topped 600,000—a figure that Sun Valley Mayor Peter Hendricks recognized in a letter of support to the ITD.

“To underwrite strong, safe and efficient operations and growth, Mountain Rides counts on … federal operating and capital funding,” Hendricks said.

Other rural agencies seeking funding from the ITD include the Selkirks-Pend Oreille Transit Authority in Ponderay and SMART Transit in Moscow.

Comments to help the ITD determine which transit providers should receive funding may be submitted to the Public Transportation Office at ptbilling@idaho.gov or mailed to the ITD (Attn: Kristina Larkin) at Box 7129, Boise, ID 83707.

The department’s 2020-2022 grant cycle is made possible by funding from the Federal Transit Administration. For questions, call 208-334-8875.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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