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Mountain Line secures $17.3 million in grant funding for transit projects

A group of buses parked on a street.

FLAGSTAFF, AZ (November 25, 2019) – The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced today that Mountain Line will receive $17.3 million through the Section 5339 (b) Bus and Bus Facilities grant for construction of a new Downtown Connection Center and the purchase of zero-emissions vehicles.

Transit systems across the country compete for these funds, regardless of size or ridership, meaning that Mountain Line was up against systems in communities like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The $17.3 million represents one of the highest award given during this grant cycle.

Mountain Line already received a competitive grant through FTA, awarded by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), for the planning and development of a new Downtown Connection Center. Since the current facility was built in 2008 Mountain Line’s ridership has increased 150 percent and the number of buses accessing the facility daily has increased by 125 percent. The new funds will make these plans a reality, allowing for construction of the actual facility. The new Downtown Connection Center is slated to remain in the same location (Phoenix Ave. between Beaver St. and Milton Rd.), and will be built to accommodate current and future service levels, provide customer service amenities, and enable partnership opportunities.

“A grant award of this magnitude will impact not only Mountain Line, but this entire community for many years to come,” said Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority Chair and Flagstaff City Councilmember Jamie Whelan. “We appreciate [Sens.] Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema, Rep. Tom O’Halleran, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for their leadership and support of Mountain Line’s grant application.”

The Bus and Bus Facilities grant award also includes funding to purchase zero-emissions vehicles as the current fleet retires. Mountain Line currently operates a 100 percent hybrid-electric fleet and is conducting a planning study to determine the most efficient and cost-effective fleet option to pursue in the future.

“Building a new Downtown Connection Center and taking the first steps to establishing a zero-emission fleet are critical components to a more sustainable future for Mountain Line and the Flagstaff community,” said Mountain Line CEO and General Manager Erika Mazza. “Partnerships will be paramount to accomplishing these ambitious projects, and we look forward to working with our community partners to move transit forward.”

This grant award comes on the heels of a separate award from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) for the design of a new bus storage facility on the Northern Arizona University (NAU) campus and a Facility Master Plan for Mountain Line’s headquarters on Kaspar Dr. The projects funded through all of these grants are complementary and will ultimately create a more cohesive and efficient transit system.

Mountain Line is the transit system in Flagstaff, Ariz., serving more than 2.5 million riders a year on nine routes.