Merced County Transit to get $740K to buy 12 buses, six bus shelters and other uses

Merced County Transit, under the governance of the Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County, said it will get about $740,000 to buy 12 buses, six bus shelters and fund portions of a compressed natural gas (CNG) facility.

The money will come from the Public Transportation, Modernization, Improvement and Service Enhancement Account (PTMISEA).The 11-member Transit Authority is comprised of one elected official from each of the region's six cities and one supervisor from each of the county's five districts.

PTMISEA is one of the programs included in Proposition 1B, the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality and Port Security Bond Act, passed by voters in November 2006. The program provides public transportation funds for capital service enhancements or expansions and new or replacement bus purchases.

Merced County Transit has 13 CNG buses, which rely solely on the PG&E CNG fueling facility to keep them on the road. "Merced County Transit is looking forward to operating its own CNG fueling facility," said Rod Ghearing, Merced County Transit Manager. "Having it located at our yard will cut down greatly on the amount of time it takes to service our CNG vehicles."

According to CNG United, which provides a one-stop shop for CNG information, compressed natural gas is environment friendly, efficient, safer and less expensive when compared to gasoline, the Merced County Association of Governments said in a news release.. "The public as well as other agencies will have access to fuel their CNG vehicles at the new facility," said Ghearing.

"Voters made a wise decision by approving Proposition 1B, which has provided much needed improvements to State Route 99 as well as capital improvements for our public transit," said John Pedrozo, Chair of the Transit Authority. "These funds will certainly advance our mission to provide dependable transit service."

More information can be found at www.mcagov.org or by calling (209) 723-3153, ext. 308.