Federal "Urban" Dollars Might Mean Expanded Grand Island Bus Service

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Grand Island's surge past the fifty thousand population mark in the 2010 census pushes the city into the "urban" designation, and that could mean more federal transportation dollars for city buses, but first the city will have to meet federal requirements.

"The 50,000 population means that we have to form a metropolitan planning organization," explained Grand Island and Hall County Regional Planning Director Chad Nabity.

Grand Island buses now receive "rural" designated federal dollars through Hall County. The changeover could mean more money and possible expanded bus service.

"An allocation for Grand Island would likely be $680,000. Currently the allocation Hall County is receiving is about $190,000, but there are some different caveats and different strings attached to that money," Nabity said.

To get the federal "urban" transportation dollars, Grand Island would most likely have to pledge substantial matching funds. No such funds have been budgeted as yet.

For now at least, Nabity says Hall County bus service will continue as usual.

The possibility of large-scale federal funding has some hoping that Grand Island will return to regularly scheduled bus lines, as it used to have in the 60's and 70's.

Grand Island bus lines used to be headquartered on West Second Street at what is now a pawn shop, and regularly scheduled buses ran routes throughout the city.

Potential scheduled route-riders already know where they'd like to go, and when.

"The mall is good, to the movies. To and from work. Maybe an earlier schedule than 6 o'clock in the morning, maybe a little earlier than 6 o'clock," said frequent bus rider Yvonne Kornagay.