ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – The Rockford Mass Transit District received $16 million in funds to help expand and upgrade the maintenance and storage space.
The storage unit located at 520 Mulberry St. now houses 77 vehicles. The expansion allows for its first six battery-powered electric buses to be stored along with the charging stations. Those are scheduled to arrive in Rockford this fall. It is part of the Rebuild Illinois Downstate Transit Capital Grant Program with a goal of zero-emission vehicles by 2036.
“This investment in our infrastructure comes at a critical time so we can continue to move forward with those plans and identify equipment funding in the future to continue to evolve,” says RMTD Executive Director Michael Stubbe.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois Secretary of Transportation Omar Osman, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara along with Representative Maurice West, Representative Dave Vella and Senator Steve Stadelman helped make this funding for RMTD possible.
“As we begin to plan to transition to better electric vehicles, zero-emission vehicles, it’s tremendously important that we have space and have infrastructure that allows us to incorporate charging equipment and electrical systems,” says Stubbe.
The transportation service will add five more hybrid electric vehicles to their route later this month, increasing this number to 15.
“I’m really pleased about it. It’s very well needed. I rely on public transportation every day as my means of transportation,” says rider Kimberly Bartlett.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 1.65 million riders took advantage of RMTD’s services. Those numbers decreased, but are slowly gaining riders back.
RMTD provides transportation to four communities in our region (Rockford, Belvidere, Machesney Park, Loves Park) with varying levels of service including 7 days a week in Rockford.
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