Greenlink is getting an infusion of cash, thanks to the city of Greenville’s portion of a settlement over governance of what was then known as the Greenville Health System.
At its formal meeting on April 22, the Greenville City Council is expected to approve first reading of an ordinance that appropriates the first year of its settlement funds — $425,000 — for Greenlink. The money would be used as the local match for a grant application to buy two Proterra electric buses as well as to improve bus stops near Prisma’s campus on Grove Road.
In future years, the city plans to earmark the Prisma money for Greenlink operations, increasing the city’s annual contribution to more than $1 million, Mayor Knox White said.
White said using the hospital money for Greenlink accomplishes two goals — it makes the fleet greener and it lays the foundation for service enhancement if Greenville County increases funding for the public transportation system in the two-year budget it is scheduled to approve in the next few weeks.
Greenlink is readying to put four 40-foot Proterra electric buses on the road in the next few weeks. Proterra is an all-electric bus company that has a manufacturing plant in Greenville.
The bus system wants to apply for a Federal Transit Authority LoNo grant to buy two 35-foot Proterra buses. The grant would pay 85 percent of the cost, while the city’s hospital money would pay the other 15 percent. The grant application period is open until May 14. Greenlink spokeswoman Nicole McAden said she doesn’t know when Greenlink would find out if it receives the money, but said the FTA tends to obligate money before the end of its fiscal year, which is Sept. 30.
Greenlink has received federal grants for electric buses and for a new maintenance facility during the past two years, but that wouldn’t preclude it from being awarded another grant, Greenville Assistant Public Transportation Director James Keel said.
If Greenlink doesn’t receive the LoNo grant, the money could be used as a local match for other grant applications, McAden said.
The rest of the first-year money will go to improve bus stops around medical facilities, McAden said. Those improvements could include such items as shelters or American with Disabilities Act-compliant landing pads, she said.