Walter Pierce

Bus service wish list totals $5.2 million

by Walter Pierce

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus bill, provides funding for local infrastructure projects. On the agenda Monday for the Lafayette City-Parish Council is discussion of roughly $21 million in road projects in the parish, including an upgrade of U.S. Hwy. 90 in Broussard and overlaying University Avenue from Pinhook Road to Carencro.

The traffic and transportation department will also present the council with what amounts to a wish list detailing $5.2 million in potential upgrades to the city of Lafayette’s public-transit (bus) system via stimulus funding. Far and away the single largest expenditure is major upgrades to the Rosa Parks Transportation Center downtown totalling $2.5 million.

The remaining $2.7 million is divvied up among 13 projects. Among them: $800,000 to purchase two 35-foot low-floor buses; roughly $431,000 to upgrade bus communications systems; $50,000 to install solar lighting at bus shelters; and $75,000 to make bus shelters hurricane-proof.

At least one proposed expenditure might raise the ire of some fiscal watchdogs: $100,000 for a regional mobility study. If approved, the Texas Transportation Institute would be hired "to evaluate the Lafayette metro area on the feasibility of developing a Regional Mobility Authority for both transit and highways." Language in the discussion document that will be presented to the council suggests such mobility authorities might "adopt property taxes to fund permanent transit services for their citizens."