GREENVILLE, SC – The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding the Greenville Transit Authority (GTA) $11 million dollars that the city intends to put toward a new maintenance facility.
Out of 107 grants extended to aid in projects around the country, GTA was the only grant recipient from South Carolina, according to James Keel, Assistant public transportation director.
“We’ve got a problem right now of one bay that fits two buses,” explained Keel, “So we can’t keep up with maintenance right now.”
According to Keel, the current maintenance facility on Augusta Rd is old and too small.
If the city wants to expand the bus service, which is the long-term plan, he says there has to be a way to maintain it.
“In order for us to expand we need at least 6 bays for us to be able to work on multiple vehicles at once. And the other problem is, even if we had plenty of money for new buses, we have no place to park them.”
Greenville city also pledged to chip in back in the Spring of 2018, committing to match 20% of the grant.
“We haven’t had this good of news about transportation in a long time,” said Lillian Brock Flemming, a member of the Greenville City Council. “This is like Christmas.”
Greenville City council also said they hope to bring Greenville County on board to help with funding, since that is where a majority of riders live.
If the city can secure a land donation, it will also bring the cost down, according to Greenville City Councilwoman Amy Doyle.
Ideally, the new facility would be about 56,000 square feet in size on 7-10 acres of property, said Keel.
28,000 square feet of the building would be allotted to maintenance, including 6 maintenance bays and 2 service bays.
“We also have several partners that have offered land opportunity to make a land donation to build a facility that we can possibly use as an investment toward our match,” she said Wednesday.
A land donation along with the sale of the current Augusta Rd. property would help keep the cost down.
While Greenlink works on building plans, Doyle said they are also hoping to add a few more buses to the fleet, expand bus hours and add new routes that extend farther into the county.
“We know that people are using it outside the city, we just have to expand it.”
Keel told 7 News he hopes the new facility will open sometime in 2021-2022.