ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ)– Senator Bob Casey met with transportation officials and Altoona elected officials Monday to discuss the possibilities with the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The officials held a round table at the Amtran offices in Altoona to brainstorm ways to spend the funding. The state is expected to receive 2.8 billion for public transit over five years.
Senator Casey went over key provisions that could benefit the state and went into further detail about the Bus and Bus Facilities program. That program included with the bill is meant to provide grants assisting with any bus issues. Amtran’s goal is to replace aging bus fleets and provide mobility options.
General Manager of Amtran, Eric Wolf, said that the team was excited to have the senator come and visit their facility. Amtran has been through multiple upgrades and renovations within the past few years; Wolf said there’s still room to improve.
“It has a very positive ramifications for public transportation, in general, and for Amtran specifically,” Wolf said.
Wolf said they proposed their Transit Development Plan to the senator at the round table, which serves to have multiple delivery options for the Blair County citizens. Funding from the bill will go towards any experiments that could help the service.
“The passing of the infrastructure act will give us some operating money so that we’ll be able to experiment with those new types of service deliveries,” Wolf said.
Both parties deem the investment as critical, seeing how much it can improve the system. Wolf noted how the transit never shut down during the height of the pandemic. That proved to people how essential they can be.
“I learned how critical it is to give resources to a community like Altoona,” Senator Casey said. “So, you can do what you do best which is to plan and implement those dollars to benefit the region in terms of transportation and infrastructure.”
Amtran’s overall goal is to evolve and develop its transportation system and increase economic growth.
“That sort of proved our role in the transportation picture. So, the expansion in both capital and operation funding in the infrastructure investment act will make a real impact in our ability to continue with that and move forward,” Wolf said.