Summit Stage bus system receives $1.6 million in CDOT grants
The Colorado Department of Transportation awarded Summit County’s public transportation system $1.6 million in funding to support the replacement of aging buses and upgrades to facilities, including the Frisco Transfer Center.
The money was allocated through the Colorado FASTER Transit Grants program and federal transit funds to the Summit Stage, which provides free bus transportation to towns and resorts throughout Summit County. The service is funded by a voter-approved, three-quarter cent sales tax.
“We really appreciate that CDOT was able to provide us with funding assistance on this scale,” Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said in a written statement. “This is a tremendous help for some much-needed projects that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to take on right now.”
The new funding will cover 80 percent of the costs for four capital projects, while the county will pay for the remaining 20 percent.
Among the four projects is the replacement of two aging buses with brand new buses, estimated to cost $920,000. Summit Stage buses typically reach the end of their useful lives at 12 years or 500,000 miles. The two new buses will be delivered in 2017.
In addition to the two replacements, the Summit Stage will refurbish five of its existing buses this year, with the help of $780,000 in CDOT funding that was awarded in 2014. The refurbishments will include new engines, transmissions, seats, flooring, bike racks and exterior paint.
“Right now, the average age of our buses is almost nine years,” said Jim Andrew, county transit director. “These five refurbishments and two replacements are going to help us get our fleet get back on track in that regard. Our riders will be able to enjoy some nice new buses, and we should realize some solid maintenance savings.”
CDOT also awarded Summit Stage $474,000 to support the expansion of the Frisco Transfer Center, the system’s busiest hub. The project will create separation between Summit Stage services and those of airport shuttles, Greyhound buses, car rental companies and the future CDOT Bustang Interregional Express buses.
“That facility was built in the 1990s, and we’ve outgrown it,” Andrew said. “Right now, it can get pretty congested and a bit confusing to the public, so we’d like to make it easier for people to find their way to and from all the various services there.”
The project will include new lighting, shelter upgrades and renovation of the building that houses the transit lobby, restrooms and car rental offices.
The Summit Stage will work with the developer of the adjacent Base Camp/Whole Foods Market shopping center to coordinate traffic flow and pedestrian travel in the area. Construction will likely begin in mid-2016.
CDOT also has committed $44,000 to help fund architectural and engineering work to expand the existing Summit Stage operating facility, which is about 20 years old.
“We have more and bigger buses than we did back then, and this expansion should serve us well for the next 20 years,” Andrew said.
The remaining $10,600 of CDOT funding will go toward design and engineering work for the fourth project, a possible new transfer station in the Dillon area. Such a station could create shorter travel times on some bus routes.
For more information about Summit State, including maps, routes and schedules, visit http://www.summitstage.com or call 970-668-0999.
To learn more about the 2009 law that created CDOT’s FASTER funding through surcharges, fines and late fees, visit http://www.codot.gov/projects/faster.
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