Tri-State Transit Authority celebrates building renovation - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Tri-State Transit Authority celebrates building renovation

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By JAMES E. CASTO

For the State Journal

HUNTINGTON – Paul Davis, general manager and CEO of the Tri-State Transit Authority, says the TTA long has been critically short of space in its administration building at 1120 Virginia Ave. in West Huntington.

Davis and his co-workers should have plenty of elbowroom now with the opening of a new $1.9 million addition to the building. The one-floor building now has two stories. The project not only added a second floor but also involved essentially gutting and renovating the original first floor, Davis said.

The addition/renovation made room for more office space, a training room, space for a dispatcher for TTA's popular Dial-A-Ride program and other needs. In addition, the building is now equipped with updated technology and is fully handicap accessible.

The building project was primarily funded with $1.552 million from the Federal Transit Administration. The federal funds were earmarked for West Virginia mass transit projects by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd and Rep. Nick Rahall, who joined TTA board members along with local and state officials in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the building Friday, July 26.

Speaking at the ceremony, Rahall defended federal spending on local mass transit, saying that every federal dollar spent on mass transit yields $4 in economic impact.

He also defended the often-criticized congressional earmark process. Earmarked dollars, he said, are simply taxpayer dollars that are coming back to a community to help a better community.

In addition to the federal dollars that went into the project, the state provided $308,000 through the West Virginia Division of Public Transit, while the TTA provided  $80,000 in local matching money.

Davis said the TTA administration building was built in 1974 and had been renovated since, but not on the scale of the new project. The architect and engineering firm for the project was Architectural Planning and Design of Huntington. The new second floor was constructed and the first floor renovated by PORTCO Inc. of Portsmouth, Ohio.

TTA began operation in 1972 and has offered uninterrupted bus service in Huntington for 41 years. It operates 34 buses and 16 para-transit vehicles. It employs 74 employees.