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Greater Dayton RTA Receives Federal Grant To Replace A Dozen Buses

The downtown Dayton RTA station on a weekday evening
Chris Welter
The downtown Dayton RTA station on a weekday evening

The Greater Dayton RTA has received a federal grant to replace some of its older buses.

The RTA was awarded over 4.4 million dollars from the Department of Transportation to replace a dozen of their diesel buses. According to RTA Deputy CEO Bob Ruzinsky, the bus grants mean that money can now be used on other upgrades.

“We've been able to reprogram some dollars that we would have had to have spent on buses. For example, we're doing a cashless fare payment system and part of that system has a component called fare capping, which means that no one will pay more than someone who buys the monthly pass." He said, "we would not have been able to do this program, we invested about a million dollars, If we hadn't gotten the competitive grants.”

Ruzinsky says the new buses will be slightly more fuel efficient, have more comfortable seats that are easier to clean, and will be equipped with more advanced video surveillance technology. The average age of Dayton’s buses is now just 3 and a half years old. The federal limit to replace city buses is twelve years or 500,000 miles, whichever comes first.

According to Ruzinsky, the RTA has been successful at receiving these grants from the federal Buses and Bus Facilities program since funding became available in 2015.

“So over the five year program, Dayton got 0.89 Percent of the national funding available." Ruzinsky said, "so that's almost one percent, we were number one in Ohio.”

Next, the RTA plans to apply for these competitive grants to rebuild its electric bus infrastructure, which hasn’t been done since the late ’80s. It will also start replacing benches and trash cans at bus stops throughout the city.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.