The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Pace will receive a $20 million RAISE discretionary grant to fund the transportation center’s reconstruction project.  -  Pace

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Pace will receive a $20 million RAISE discretionary grant to fund the transportation center’s reconstruction project.

Pace

Pace’s board approved several ordinances, including an electric bus purchase and an agreement with a transportation network company/rideshare provider to augment paratransit service throughout the region.

Executive Director Melinda Metzger began her report to the board by sharing exciting news on Pace’s Harvey Transportation Center Project. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced last week that Pace will receive a $20 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant to fund the transportation center’s reconstruction project.

“This is the first RAISE grant that our agency has received. To put into perspective the significance of receiving an award under this program, nationally, only 7% of applications are awarded funding and only 10 grants have been awarded in our region in the program’s history prior to this year. The largest award in 2022 was $25 million, so Pace’s $20 million is at the very high end of what was awarded,” she said.

Metzger also shared that on August 22, elementary and high school students will be able to ride Pace, Metra, and CTA for free. K-12 students attending any public or private school, as well as an accompanying adult, can ride for free on Pace’s buses, On Demand, and ADA paratransit from 5:30 am to 8:00 pm.

“Pace’s system serves many city and suburban schools, and we hope these free rides will help students start the year off strong and show them they have an alternative way to get to school using public transit,” said Metzger. This is the first year that all three service boards are offering these free rides to students across the region, which also supports Pace’s focus on ensuring regional connectivity for our riders.

Earlier this year, Pace leased a 40-foot GILLIG low-floor battery electric bus to allow staff to begin gaining operational and maintenance experience. The board approved the purchase of that vehicle, which will be delivered later this year. Pace’s strategic vision plan, “Driving Innovation,” includes operating a zero-emission fleet by 2040. As the demand for electric buses far outweighs the supply, it is critical that Pace capitalize on opportunities to secure electric buses and maintain progress on the path to zero-emissions. The purchase will allow continued operational and maintenance analysis, providing valuable insight about vehicle performance during the winter months.

Additionally, the board approved an ordinance authorizing the award of a two-year contract to UZURV, a transportation network company, to provide additional Pace ADA paratransit service throughout the City of Chicago, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties. The service implementation will provide additional transportation options for riders without diverting operators from existing bus and taxi carriers currently providing Pace service. The contract will help increase regional service capacity, address operator shortages, and accommodate projected regional ridership growth.

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