Federal Investment provides $32.6 million to Upgrade Transit Systems across the State

Lake County, OH – U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded five competitive Buses and Bus Facilities Grants (FY 2021) totaling $32,639,029 to transit authorities across Ohio. This funding will allow many Northeast Ohio communities to make necessary upgrades to their existing facilities, and replace older buses that have reached the end of their useful life. These improvements will increase safety and service reliability for transit workers and the passengers these transit authorities serve.

Lake County transit system, Laketran, has been awarded $14.6 million to fund a renovation of its main headquarters by upgrading its bus garage and adding to its operations and maintenance facility.

In a recent announcement, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown stated, ““Transit is all about the Dignity of Work – it creates jobs, it connects people to jobs, it reduces the cost of commuting, and it will help communities across Ohio grow and create opportunity. Employers, entrepreneurs, and workers have all been asking for better transit – now we’re delivering by making major investments that will create good-paying American jobs that cannot be shipped overseas, and that will help Ohio communities thrive and grow.”

Laketran CEO Ben Capelle shared, “When federal funds become available, shovel-ready projects are often the most competitive. We’ve been planning these upgrades since ridership spiked prior to the pandemic and that demand continues to grow, and we anticipate it to grow even more with gas prices rising and our population aging.”

Laketran’s building upgrades include expanding its operations center that houses dispatch, scheduling and driver’s area, as well as add an additional maintenance bay so the department can work more efficiently.

“This is a big moment for all Lake County, and we are so proud of CEO Ben Capelle, Board President Brian Falkowski, Vice President Chuck Zibbel and the whole Laketran team. The $14,681,981 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund the modernization of Laketran’s main headquarters will cover the vast majority of the cost to expand our bus garage and add a new operations and maintenance facility. This is a big win for Lake County taxpayers.” said Lake County Commissioner John Plecnik.

Laketran anticipates over 80 percent of the project upgrades will be supported with federal or state funds.

“We receive tremendous support at the local, state and federal government when contending for these types of grants. And that support is critical to our success. I’d like to the thank Senator Brown for his ongoing encouragement for federal investment in transit projects, as well as our local and state officials,” said Laketran Board President Brian Falkowski. “Both our ridership and number of employees has more than doubled since our headquarters was built 30 years ago. This grant will allow our services to become more efficient and reliable today, and prepare us for the future.”

Other funding from FTA to support Ohio transit systems includes:

  • $1,514,888 to the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority to replace older buses.
  • $2,307,200 to the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority to make upgrades to the maintenance facility and replace older paratransit vehicles.
  • $10,134,960 to the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority to replace older buses.
  • $4,000,000 to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to make necessary upgrades to the Hayden Bus Maintenance facility.