Santa Rosa and Napa bus agencies are receiving $12.7 million in federal funding for services.
The funding comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Bus Facility Grant Program, Congressman Mike Thomson announced Friday.
Its announcement shows that Santa Rosa Transit and CityBus will receive about $4.2 million and Vine Transit in Napa will receive about $8.4 million to purchase new buses and upgrade or modify facilities.
“Public transit is a vital part of our communities, helping connect us to daily necessities and economic opportunity,” Thompson said in a statement. “These grants are critical funds that will help advance public transit for thousands of people in our cities that depend on it.”
It wasn’t immediately clear when new buses would be available or what facilities would be upgraded, but Friday’s announcement comes as North Bay and the rest of the country are grappling with rising gas prices.
According to the American Automobile Association, gas stations in Santa Rosa charge an average of $5.85 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.
That’s up from the previous week’s average of $5.22 per gallon, an increase of 63 cents per gallon.
Gasbuddy.com, which tracks prices at individual gas stations, showed drivers in Santa Rosa were paying as much as $5.29 a gallon on Saturday.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials say gasoline prices are a contributing factor to increased ridership this month. Last week, when gas prices soared, average weekday ridership was up 12% from the first week of March.
“Public transport plays an increasingly crucial role in keeping our community mobile in a world where disruptions to energy supplies and the continued need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions push us to look beyond automotive to meet our transportation needs,” said SMART spokesperson Matt Stevens. “SMART is playing a central role in connecting our communities during these difficult times.”
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