Madison will receive $7 million in federal grant money from the Department of Transportation in its efforts to improve infrastructure across the country, according to the city.
The U.S. Federal Transit Administration Bus and Bus Facilities Grant will upgrade the Metro bus system, as well as contribute to Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s rapid transit MetroForward plan.
"This is the next critical step in advancing my MetroForward plan, an initiative to support our regional growth, recruit and retain strong business and talent, protect our environment and ensure a great quality of life for our residents,” Rhodes-Conway said. “We must invest in success — sustainable, accessible and reliable transportation.”
The grant will include a $5 million local match and the collective funds will be used to acquire a part of the former Oscar Mayer property on the East Side, which will serve as a bus facility to support the growth of the Metro Transit bus fleet.
Metro Transit’s current main facility on E. Washington Avenue was built more than 100 years ago and only meant to store 160 buses — it now stores 218, according to the mayor’s office.
The new facility will allow the city to properly store its entire bus fleet, in addition to providing space for the development of Bus Rapid Transit — a high-capacity limited-stop service Rhodes-Conway hopes to have in place by 2024 to reduce vehicle traffic.
Rhodes-Conway also believes the new facility will help the city become more environmentally sustainable while pursuing the municipal goal of using 100 percent renewable energy sources and becoming carbon neutral by the year 2030.
“The new satellite facility is intended to enable a transition of our full fleet to all-electric buses, beginning in 2023, with installation of new electric charging stations and maintenance bays,” Rhodes-Conway stated.
Draft plans for the 72-acre Oscar Mayer site have already been approved by the City Council, which includes a reserved area for the proposed bus storage facility.