Ben Franklin Transit plans to keep trying to find a way to pay for expanding service after missing out on a federal grant.
The agency was seeking part of $110 million in Federal Transit Administration discretionary dollars to help restore service eliminated by 2011 budget cuts and to add new stops. Much of the service would have helped bring people to and from Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
“They had like 10 times the amount of requests that they had money for,” said Kathy McMullen, Ben Franklin Transit’s service development manager.
Ben Franklin Transit wanted to add three routes using the $2.2 million it requested. It wanted one of them to connect from the Three Rivers Transit Center in Kennewick to the Tri-Tech Skills Center, then cross the Columbia River to the 22nd Avenue Transit Center in Pasco, then to CBC.
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Another route would start at Trios Southridge Hospital in south Kennewick, go to Southridge High, then to the 22nd Street Transit Center and CBC.
The third route would stay in Pasco, starting in east Pasco, stop at the Amtrak station, go to the 22nd Avenue Transit Center and then the college.
The grant would have paid for three new buses and improvements to transit centers, but Ben Franklin Transit would have to show it can operate the routes for 10 years.
The agency plans to keep seeking money to pay start-up costs for the new routes, McMullen said. It can apply for federal money again next year, and also see if state money becomes available.
“I know the governor is looking at different funding projects,” she said. “A lot of times you have to apply three or four times before something breaks for you.”