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Rural Residents Benefit From Stimulus Dollars

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Aired 9/29/09

Residents of San Diego’s backcountry will be some of the first to see the benefits of Federal “Transit” stimulus dollars.

Residents of San Diego’s backcountry will be some of the first to see the benefits of Federal “Transit” stimulus dollars.

Randell Iwasaki (left), Director of Caltrans,  presents checks for new buses to Bob Campbell of North County Transit District (center) and Harry Mathis of the Metropolitan Transit System (right).
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Above: Randell Iwasaki (left), Director of Caltrans, presents checks for new buses to Bob Campbell of North County Transit District (center) and Harry Mathis of the Metropolitan Transit System (right).

California will get $34 million in stimulus money to improve public transportation in rural areas, and San Diego will get a little over a million of that.

A Caltrans official presented checks to the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit today. Between them, the two agencies will purchase about a dozen new buses.

Harry Mathis, board chair of MTS, says three of them will serve Borrego Springs, Descanso and Alpine.

“They will be cleaner burning,” Mathis said. “But most importantly they will provide dependable services to persons who count on us as a lifeline, to be able to get to the services they need from the rural areas to the city. The buses will be traveling over the tough grades of the Laguna mountains to the city.”

Mathis says some bus routes have been canceled for budgetary reasons, but the agency does have the money to operate these buses.

The vehicles cost almost $100,000 each and created jobs in Kansas, where they were built.

This grant is part of California’s $1 billion share of stimulus money for public transit. The state also has more than $2 billion to spend on improving roads and freeways. High Speed Rail is expected to generate more federal money and jobs for California in the future.

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