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Woodburn received a grant issued through ODOT that will upgrade the city's fleet with a heavy-duty transit bus

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - The new bus will feature a door ramp to accommodate larger electric scooters used by Woodburn's many senior residents and persons with disabilities.A recently announced $423 million federal infusion into the nation's mass transit infrastructures trickles down into a boost to Woodburn's bus services.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said that the Federal Transit Administration will allot the federal money via grants aimed at fortifying America's bus systems and enhancing mobility. Five of those grants totaling $2.6 million were allotted in Oregon through Oregon Department of Transportation, including $300,000 on behalf of the city of Woodburn to replace the oldest transit bus in the city's fleet with a new heavy-duty one.

The purchase is anticipated to significantly reduce transit repair and maintenance costs while improving access, mobility and transit service for riders who use the service in Woodburn.

As a further boost for transit riders in the region, Salem Area Mass Transit, or Cherriots, received roughly $1.05 million that will be used to implement Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) improvements, which include signal priority technology and real-time passenger information systems achieved through GPS receivers at intersections.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Regional transit stands to benefit from grants issued through ODOT via the Federal Transit Administration.

Cherriots, which runs a couple of routes through Woodburn, including one that also serves Gervais and Brooks, expects the ITS to improve efficiency of transit routes through congested corridors.

Woodburn's grant application cites the city's plans to purchase a 2019 Category A large, diesel-fueled, heavy-duty passenger bus with two wheelchair stations, replacing a 2006 Champion bus, which is medium sized and the oldest of the fleet's busses, showing an odometer reading that tops 152,000 miles.

According to the application, the replacement bus will not only be newer and larger, it will have more safety features, including passenger shoulder belts and a kneeler feature to help passengers board and disembark, as well as features that increase driver visibility, decrease glare, and reduce wind noise. It will also include a door ramp that accommodates large electric scooters; the 2006 Champion could only accommodate smaller wheelchairs and scooters.

Many Woodburn transit riders are seniors and persons with disabilities.

"We will have to decide whether to keep the older bus as a backup or sell it," Woodburn Assistant City Administrator Jim Row said.

The local and regional shot in the arm is part of a broader quest to improve mobility.

"Public bus systems throughout the country provide millions of Americans access to jobs, healthcare, grocery stores, and other vital services," Chao said when announcing the federal grants.

"More people travel by bus than any other form of public transportation," FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams added. "This Administration is committed to rebuilding our nation's transportation infrastructure and helping to improve bus service nationwide."

Other Oregon jurisdictions listed as receiving transportation grants are:

•The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on behalf of Yamhill County Transit will receive $999,968 to replace several buses that have exceeded their useful life. The new buses will improve access, mobility and transit service for riders who use the service in northern Oregon.

•The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on behalf of the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District will receive $150,126 to replace LINK buses that have exceeded their useful life. The new LINK buses will improve access, mobility and transit service for riders who use the service in Wasco County.

•The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will receive $110,500 to purchase a new bus for a new rural public transportation bus route between the communities of Eugene and Florence, Oregon. The route will link the valley with the coast and provide a needed public transportation option between these two communities that are 60 miles apart.

Woodburn Transit Service

Woodburn Transit Service operates in Woodburn, Oregon and provides transportation services to nearly 25,000 city residents. It's "Fixed Route" program operates Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and serves a large area of Woodburn, stopping at medical, educational and grocery facilities.

WTS also provides trip planning assistance, partnering with other transportation entities such as Cherriots Regional, Canby CAT, the Wilsonville SMART, and local social service agencies, including Woodburn Legacy Medical Facilities, Salud Clinic and Senior & Disability Services.

For information about Woodburn Transit Service, its routes and rates, visit woodburn-or.gov/transit.

For information about Cherriots routes through Woodburn and north Marion County, visit cherriots.org/route/10X and cherriots.org/route/20X.

For information about Canby Area Transit's 99E services, visit canbyoregon.gov/transportation/route99.htm.

For information about Wilsonville's SMART services, visit ridesmart.com/transit.


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