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Halifax County asks $273,849 for regional bus system / October 26, 2017
Halifax County has joined with Pittsylvania County and the City of Danville to set plans for a bus transit system that would shuttle students back and forth from Danville Community College, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and other points of local need.

To pay the local share of the costs, Halifax is seeking $273,849 from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. The grant request, which was submitted Thursday, covers the matching fund amount that Halifax and Pittsylvania will be expected to pledge with a pending grant request to the federal government to pay for the bus system.

It’s part of a three-year demonstration project that would be operated by the Danville Transit Authority. Two routes are envisioned: from South Boston to Danville, and from Danville to Gretna, with stops in Chatham.

Halifax County’s share of the cost is about $40,000 annually. The Halifax County Board of Supervisors has promised to come up with the money, but first will ask the tobacco commission to shoulder the burden. The commission’s Southside Economic Development Committee will consider the request along with six other grant submissions currently pending in the region.

The bus service is tied to SVHEC’s designation as a Center of Manufacturing Excellence. After obtaining a state transportation planning grant, SVHEC officials and partner group found that the need for a regional transit system between Halifax, Danville and Pittsylvania is “high,” driven by the number of students moving between education, job training and work sites.

“Lack of reliable and affordable transportation in the region is a barrier to both employment and education,” the grant application for the bus system notes. “Nearly 3,000 individuals travel out of their locality (city to county, county to city, or county-county) for work and at least 150 Danville Community College students are making similar commutes across locality lines.

“Because a relatively high percentage of the service area’s population live in auto-less households, many individuals lack reliable transportation for work and education. Limited regional transportation options are an impediment to individuals as they pursue employment and education and to regional economic development as industry prospects evaluate workforce and infrastructure assets,” according to the grant partners.

The bus system is projected to handle 14,500 passenger trips annually, and would be open to the general public. Based on estimates from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Southern Virginia Regional Transportation Demonstration project could create 51 new jobs and return $4 for every $1 invested, according to the grant application.

Supervisors, in a resolution supporting the venture, noted that Halifax County “agrees that for the service to be given a chance to show success, three years of service … should be anticipated — unless ridership numbers required for success are clearly not seen and then service would be terminated.”

Danville Transit will be responsible for submitting the grant applications to federal and state agencies to pay for most of the system’s costs.

The Southside Economic Development Committee is expected to take up the county’s request around the end of the year.

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Waste of money. This tobacco commission money should be returned to the farmers and the companies that it was stolen from!


Another boondoggle to waste the tobacco money. 99% of the kids have their own cars.
Just another way for a few fat cats to siphon off a little free money.

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