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Connect Transit awarded $500K for bus stop improvements

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Three Connect Transit buses pull away from their stops at the Law and Justice Center in downtown Bloomington in May 2018. 

NORMAL — Connect Transit was awarded a $500,000 federal grant Thursday to go toward continuing to improve the infrastructure of Bloomington-Normal bus stops.

The Bloomington-Normal bus system will get money from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Buses and Bus Facilities grant program for the Better Bus Stop campaign.

“This grant funding will allow Connect to continue our investment in bus stop infrastructure that improves the mobility of our customers who depend on Connect to get to education, work, and medical appointments,” said Isaac Thorne, general manager of Connect Transit.

The Better Bus Stop campaign, approved by the Connect Transit board in March 2018, has improved more than 50 stops in the last 18 months.

“I have seen the improved bus stops first hand and know they are improving rider safety,” said U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.

In a letter to the Department of Transportation, U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, said “an expanded bus stop structure network will greatly enhance access and mobility” for all users in the Bloomington-Normal system.

“Connect Transit provides vital services in Bloomington-Normal, and this announcement is welcome news for the transportation system in McLean County,” LaHood said in Thursday’s announcement. 

Thorne said he is grateful to have support from Davis and LaHood, who have been "instrumental in helping Connect Transit secure federal grants to improve the infrastructure in the Bloomington-Normal community."

Last year, Connect Transit received $6 million from the Bus and Bus Facilities Grant, much of which was used for the new electric buses.

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.

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