Long a proponent of public transit, Senator Bob Bennett, R-UT, will be the guest speaker at an August 25 ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the new addition to the Cache Valley Transit District (CVTD) administrative building.CVTD has partnered with the Cache Chamber of Commerce as event sponsors.”He has always been a great supporter of public transit,” says CVTD General Manager Todd Beutler of Sen. Bennett. “He’s been very influential in helping us get a lot of the grant funding we’ve obtained. All members of the Utah delegation have been helpful, but we wanted to recognize his efforts and we’re grateful he’s taking time out of his busy schedule to come to this event.”Beutler said the cost of the building addition will run between $190,000 and $200,000. “It is being paid for with America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funds, 100 percent paid for with federal grants we went out and were able to procure,” said Beutler.”It was built to create more office space, we had folks sharing small offices, we’ve had folks in renovated closets, using them as closet space and office space.”Remember, we elected to not renew our contract with First Transit and to bring services in-house. There are about 35 employees that are full-time the remainder are part-time,” said Beutler.Asked about summer 2009 ridership, Beutler recalled in 2008 the era of four dollar a gallon fuel.”We definitely saw at that point there was a transition from personal vehicles to public transit,” he said. “That made it difficult to maintain our schedules. Ridership is still up four percent from 2007, when fuel prices were relatively the same. Ridership is hanging in there, growing steadily. We’re still seeing more and more new people trying out public transit.”Beutler said the new addition will go a long way toward re-focusing the CVTD’s goals.”Bringing everybody in-house has given us the opportunity to have a single vision and a single mindset, trying to achieve the Board of Trustees mission of becoming the premier transportation provider in the region.”He said the CVTD wants to develop new routes, as funding allows. “There is definitely a need for an expanded facility for housing all of our vehicles. We’re currently at capacity in that regard.”Through ARRA funding we’ve gone ahead and put in an order for two diesel hybrid buses that are cleaner and run on battery power. We’ve also put in an order for some longer vehicles, serving the Franklin County route, as ridership continues to grow in that area.”Following the ribbon cutting a luncheon will be held at the Riverwoods Convention Center, after which Senator Bennett will answer questions.
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