By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Transit service to pass on federal money
Proposed maintenance building no longer shovel ready
Placeholder Image

Hall Area Transit has decided not to pursue some $200,000 in federal stimulus money, as plans for a proposed maintenance building haven't materialized.

"Those dollars were intended to conduct an environmental analysis of a piece of property we were considering (for the building)," said Phillippa Lewis Moss, director of the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center.

The maintenance building would have been used for transit and city of Gainesville needs.

A feasibility study was conducted last summer. The next phase was the environmental work, followed by construction.

"But when the effects of the recession became even clearer in the last few months, we realized that (construction) isn't feasible," Moss said.

"We had to make the decision not to utilize those dollars because we can't move to (construction) quick enough. The analysis only lasts so long. ... You don't want to have to do an analysis, have too much time lapse and have it no longer valid."

Hall Area Transit, a public transportation system that has served Gainesville-Hall County since 1983, has received some $800,000 in stimulus funding on items that should largely beef up technology.

Moss said she has checked to see if the $200,000 could be used for something else, meeting with Georgia Department of Transportation officials on the matter.

But stimulus funds "are very strict," she said. "The government said don't ask for these dollars if you're not going to spend it and if you're not shovel ready. At the time we requested (the money), we were. We had done the feasibility study and were moving forward."

Nationwide, much of the stimulus funding was intended for projects, described as "shovel ready," that were on the verge of starting, as in construction.

Hall County Transit received its money from $8.25 million the DOT had received for transit improvements.

The state had eyed using the money to buy 200 shuttle buses and vans for rural transportation systems throughout the state, including several for governments surrounding Hall County.

"These vehicles ... will allow rural providers to continue providing this important service at a time when economic challenges face all of us, while at the same time supporting jobs in manufacturing and distribution," said DOT Commissioner Vance C. Smith Jr. last summer.

To date, Hall Area Transit has spent $19,371 on technology upgrades and is in various stages of ordering another $156,558 in items such as fare boxes, bike racks and lockers, and vehicle security cameras, Moss said.

Remaining funds "will be processed before the end of the year," she said.

Regional events