New Public Transit Facility in operation

By Jessi Stone | Feb 15, 2013
Photo by: Jessi Stone OFFICIALLY OPEN — Stakeholders attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 12 for the new Haywood Public Transit Facility in Clyde. Pictured from left are Robert Fulbright, Mountain Projects board member, Patsy Dowling, Mountain Projects executive director, Susan Anderson, Haywood Public Transit director, Teresa Hart, North Carolina Department of Transportation – Public Transit Division director and Mark Swanger, Hawood County commissioner and Mountain Projects chairman.

The Haywood Public Transit Facility in Clyde, which was nine years in the making, is officially open for operation following a Feb. 12 ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Before the new, centrally located facility was completed, the public transit vehicles were housed at the Mountain Projects offices on Old Balsam Road in Waynesville. The new facility, near the entrance to Haywood Community College, helps the program streamline its routes, which makes the program more cost efficient.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Patsy Dowling, Mountain Projects executive director. “We needed a better place than Old Balsam Road.”

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dowling thanked the Haywood County Commissioners for donating the land near Haywood Community College in Clyde for the new facility and for supporting the project every step of the way. She also thanked North Carolina Department of Transportation for allocating the money for construction.

State and federal funding paid for the project; $558,600 came from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and $500,000 was allocated from the state.

Teresa Hart, NCDOT Public Transit Division director, said many public transit programs throughout the state, whether countywide or regional, were in need of new facilities, which spoke volumes about the increasing importance of public transit in the state.

The facility is now home to about 22 public transit vehicles that are secured behind a gated fence. Susan Anderson, Haywood Public Transit director, said six of the fleet vehicles were recently converted to run on propane to save money with the help of Blossman Gas.

Bill Eaker, with Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition, presented Anderson with a plaque from the U.S. Department of Energy for participating in the Clean Cities program by converting some of the fleet to propane.

He said the benefits of reducing the use of petroleum included cleaner air quality, the reduction of foreign dependence on oil and local job creation.

The transit is available for all residents, though those needing the service need to provide a 24-hour notice. Hours of operation are 6 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call 565-0362.

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