City Council voted to appropriate $425,021 in the General Fund for Greenlink at the May 13 formal City Council meeting, bringing the City’s total funding for transit to $4,187,904 (including contributed services) this year.
The allocated funds come from the City of Greenville’s portion of a settlement over governance of what was then known as the Greenville Health System, now Prisma Health.
In future years, the city plans to earmark the Prisma money (through Greenville Health Authority) for Greenlink operations, increasing the city’s annual contribution to more than $1 million, Mayor Knox White said before the formal City Council meeting April 22.
That plan was confirmed this month by City Council, which expressed its intent to continue using the GHA funding to support Greenlink operations in FY2020 and beyond, subject to annual appropriation.
Part of the funding will go toward the local match for Greenlink’s application to the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emissions (Low-No) grant program for four additional Proterra electric buses and charging infrastructure. Proterra is an all-electric bus company that has a manufacturing plant in Greenville.
The remaining funds will be used to improve bus stops serving Prisma Health facilities in the city, which could include installing covered stops, improving ADA accessibility, and adding additional sidewalk/crosswalk infrastructure.
For the upcoming fiscal year, the City’s total cash contributions to Greenlink will be in excess of $1,200,000.
With $606,000 in local match commitments and 63 letters of support from the community, Greenlink is requesting $3.468 million from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase four 35-foot buses and their charging equipment.
In 2017, Greenville Transit Authority received a $1.45 million Low-No grant, which was used to purchase two of Greenlink’s four new 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 electric buses. Greenlink expects to deploy the new 40-foot buses next month.
Greenlink’s Transit Development Plan outlines phased improvements such as extending service hours to 11:30 p.m. and doubling service frequency from 60-minute service to 30-minute service; however, to implement these service enhancements, Greenlink will need additional buses. Greenville Transit Authority and the City also have a shared vision of a transit system that runs entirely on electricity.
“This additional funding will support Greenlink’s efforts to implement the recommendations of the Transit Development Plan by improving the frequency of service and thereby increasing access to healthcare in the Greenville area,” White said. “The new electric zero-emission vehicles will also help make the air healthier for our community and move Greenlink another step closer to making the vision of a fully electric fleet a reality.”