Last week, the State of Illinois released roughly $32 million of capital funding to Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Pace Bus, which will help the agency to move forward with efforts to test green technology buses and paratransit vehicles such as hybrids and compressed natural gas (CNG), replace its radio system and build a transit center at Toyota Park in Bridgeview.
The funding stems from two comprehensive capital investment bills passed by the Illinois General Assembly during 2009. The $32 million is the first installment of a total $200 million that Pace expects to receive based on the legislation. It is estimated that the money will create or retain approximately 270 jobs, many of those in Illinois.
Pace will use $14 million of the new funding will be used to purchase “Green” vehicles for use in the City of Chicago on ADA paratransit service for registered people with disabilities. The new vehicles will begin the agency’s efforts to have an entirely Pace-owned fleet in Chicago, thus eliminating the need to use its limited operating funds to reimburse its contractors that operate the service for their costs to procure their own vehicles.
An additional $6 million will be used to purchase 11 “green” buses for use on regular fixed route service. In either case, the green vehicles could be hybrids, compressed natural gas-powered, or other technologies or some assortment of each.
Meanwhile, $10 million will be used to replace Pace’s existing radio system, which over time has become obsolete to the point that it can no longer be serviced by its manufacturer. The radio system purchase will be part of a joint procurement with the State of Illinois and will save Pace approximately $10-14 million versus purchasing a standalone system.
Additionally, the radio system will be purchased from Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola, meaning that jobs created or retained through the project will be in Illinois.
The remaining $2 million will be used to construct a transportation center at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, creating an estimated 35 local jobs. Pace operates special events service to the stadium from the CTA Orange Line Midway Station.