Greenlink moves forward after denied funding 2 years in a row - FOX Carolina 21

Greenlink moves forward after denied funding 2 years in a row

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Public transportation is used more in Greenville County that one may think. "All the bus drivers are nice," said Naomi Rome. For people like her, it's become a way of life... it's how she gets around every day.

"It's pretty far to get home, about a mile I have to walk," said Rome. But on top of the distance, she says the buses don't run late enough. "Run at least up until about 11:30 that would be good," she said.

Both of Rome's concerns are on Greenlinks plans to make changes, but not getting federal funding through the tiger grant they applied for with the USDOT, it's created a bump in the road. 

"Would've funded 8 electric buses running on two new proposed trunk lines, those trunk lines would have been express service, meaning less stops throughout the line allowing you to get farther faster," said Nicole Mcaden, the Marketing and Program Specialist for Greenlink.

The plan is to connect Travelers rest all the way to Fountain Inn, as well as Greer to the Donaldson Center, "and SC Tax so it would be able to connect a lot of manufacturing jobs," said Mcaden. 

She also said they wand to extend their hours, "Right now we stop at 7:30 PM meaning, that second and third shift employees can't take public transit home."

And with many pedestrian deaths in recent years in Greenville County, Mcaden said their plans would hopefully cut down on those accidents. "Most of those fatalities are in areas where there's no pedestrian infrastructure," she said.

So, with plans for longer hours, more routes, and further extended routes, that they Greenlink staff said could fix many of these issues, why did the USDOT deny funding? "We haven't received feedback yet," said Mcaden.

She said when they went through the process last year they did receive feedback and were told they were flagged for approval..."But they ran out of money by the time they got to us in the priorities," she said.

This is what USDOT released in a statement in regards to applicants that did not receive funding. "Demand for the 2016 TIGER grant program continued to far exceed available funds; the DOT received 585 eligible applications from all 50 States, and several U.S. territories, tribal communities, cities, and towns throughout the United States, collectively requesting over $9.3 billion in funding."

But Greenlink, the city and county, aren't giving up hope, they are seeking other funding locally to make sure the needs of the public are met.

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