WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - On a busy day for council, public transit received more than 2.5 million dollars in grants.
The funds are for the operational cost of the ever-expanding services within the transportation department.
John Burrus Wichita Falls Director Transportation said, “25 years ago we were carrying 140,000 people today we are pushing almost 500,000 passengers a year and for a city this size, it is unheard of.”
2.5 million sounds like a lot and it, but so are the number of services and programs they provide for the Wichita Falls community.
"In an ideal world, I wish we could have 4 million dollars cause we would put it to use, but I got a great staff a passionate staff the customer service is the best it’s ever been, and we just need to keep making those small improvements, “said Burrus.
This city department is non-stop with after-hour rides, community partnerships like Midwestern University, Sheppard Air force Base, Castaway Cove, and working on and building a new maintenance facility.
"If I have to pick one program to grow, it would be our grocery cart service cause we are a lot of people don't have transportation, but they still need to get to the store to get food and prescriptions. In this case, there is no reason that we shouldn't be providing ten grocery cart TRIPS a week for a community this size. It’s one of our less publicized it is out there it been out there for years…
With all the grant money approved by the council Tuesday, they are able to continue helping the most under-served members of the community.
"Basically, it for people that need medical treatment, rehab, outside of our regular operating hours here they can pick up the phone and call us.
Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana says, "They are also talking about building new bus shelters. Many people have come to us they just can’t stand students, elderly sitting out there waiting on the bus it might be raining snowing cold it might be 100 degrees you know they need these shelters, and they really took that to heart. Today was a good story to pat yourself on the back. They got a lot of money coming in, and they are going to spend it correctly.
Big news today out of the Wichita Falls city council.. a contract for more than two million dollars was awarded to *finish* the hike and bike trail. The lowest of four bids was Wilson contracting they will be working on the trail from Barnett road to Seymour highway. they are hoping to get started soon because they only have a 12-month window to finish the project construction on the hike and bike trail began more than two decades ago.
“It’s pretty unusual as you heard that Burlington Northern would allow a trail inside of their railroad right-of-way so the fact we got them to agree to that is pretty monumental” Russell Schreiber Director of Public Works
Finally, council members voted to move forward with the extension of Maplewood Avenue from Lawrence Road to McNeil Avenue giving Wilson Contracting their second contract of the day. The project will include widening the street, adding a right turning lane and adding a traffic signal. District five councilor Steve Jackson and Bobby Whiteley Councilor At Large both voted against awarding the bid.
Council is also giving ARP Brown Building LLC more time to finish the renovation project at 901 9th street with 4B funds.