RIPTA gets $3.3M for bus maintenance facility

R.I. PUBLIC TRANSIT Authority CEO Scott Avedisian said a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will allow the agency to make
R.I. PUBLIC TRANSIT Authority CEO Scott Avedisian said a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will allow the agency to make "critical" repairs on the Chafee Maintenance Facility in Providence. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ RUPERT WHITELEY

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Public Transit Authority received $3.3 million in federal funds to modernize its infrastructure, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.

The grant will be used to make repairs on the Chafee Maintenance Facility on Elmwood Avenue in Providence. RIPTA will use the money to help pay for a roof rehabilitation as well as to conduct HVAC repairs and to buy new bus lifts at the $20 million facility.

The grant covers 80 percent of the $4.1 million project, with RIPTA matching the remainder of the project’s costs.

“Every day we need a specific number of buses to be ready to roll so we can meet our schedule and serve the public, and we rely on our maintenance facility and our maintenance crews to make sure that happens,” said Scott Avedisian, CEO of RIPTA, in a statement. “This building is in need of some critical work, and without this grant we weren’t sure how we were going to be able to make these capital improvements. We are grateful to Sen. Reed for supporting this important funding request and making sure that a vital maintenance facility remains operational and in a state of good repair.”

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Most of the funding is expected to be spent on the replacement, modernization and refurbishment of 22 bus lifts that allow RIPTA to conduct vehicle maintenance. RIPTA noted the current lifts frequently break down, require repairs and serve to degrade the performance of repairs on buses, limiting the supply of buses available to the city for bus routes.

The funds come from the DOT’s Bus and Bus Facility grant program, which provided $400 million to states in fiscal year 2018.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.