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South Dakota communities receive grants to improve busing

South Dakota Department of Transportation

The South Dakota Department of Transportation received three grants totaling $2,603,378 to improve busing in multiple communities across the state.

According to the department, Aberdeen, the Black Hills, Brookings, Huron and Pierre will benefit from grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle programs. Applications for these grants compete with other states.

Transportation agencies in Aberdeen and 15 counties will receive funding for nine ethanol-fueled busses.

The Brookings Area Transit Agency will get funding for a new bus storage facility.

"By providing a controlled environment for maintenance, inspection and implementing safety protocols, a bus storage facility plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall safety of transit operations. It helps prevent incidents, ensures the proper functioning of vehicles, and promotes a safe working environment for transit personnel," Jack Dokken, the program manager for air, rail and transit for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, said in an email. "Safety is only part of the benefit bus storage facilities serve, a well-designed and properly equipped bus storage facility plays a critical role in maintaining the efficiency, reliability and longevity of a transit system's bus fleet."

Agencies in the Black Hills and Huron will receive funding for nine low-emission propane buses and conversion equipment to reduce tailpipe emissions.

A total of 944,744 rides were given on public transportation in South Dakota in 2021, according to the Annual Transit Report.

Elizabeth is an intern with South Dakota Public Broadcasting.