City approves purchase of vans, bus for transit

The Columbus City Council gave its approval to use leftover COVID relief funds to allow the transit department to buy new vans and a bus.

The council voted 8-0 to approve the second reading of an ordinance that appropriates $1.6 million of funding provided by the CARES Act towards the transit budget to use for the purchases. District 5 Councilman Kent Anderson was not present at the meeting.

Ordinances must be passed on two readings to be fully approved.

Director of Public Works Bryan Burton said during the first reading of the ordinance on March 19 that the city received more than $2 million of CARES Act funds and had “spent very little of that.”

The $1.6 million, currently held in a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant, will be used to purchase five paratransit vans and one 29-foot GILLIG bus, Burton said.

The new vehicles are replacing those “that are past their useful life,” Executive Director of Administration Eric Frey said during the city council meeting on Tuesday night.

The five paratransit vehicles, at a total cost of $735,162, will be purchased through a state quantity purchase agreement (QPA), Frey said.

The estimated total cost for the vehicles is $1.4 million dollars— the appropriation of the additional $200,000 is because, although transit has gotten a quote on the GILLIG bus at an amount of $685,000, it has not yet been officially bid out, Frey said.

Burton had said during the first reading of the ordinance, that any money left over after the GILLIG bus has been purchased will go towards the operating budget.