The CNMI had been awarded over $961,000 in Federal Transit Administration funds, so that the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority, or COTA, can launch its Fixed-Flex Route and Para-Transit services.
The money would allow COTA to buy buses for the CNMI’s first public transportation system and operate and administer the system.
Alfreda Camacho, the special assistant for Public Transportation, was notified Friday about the new grant by Bernardo Bustamente, director of the Office of Program Management and Program Oversight for FTA Region IX.
According to Camacho, the grant will allow for COTA to properly plan and provide safe, efficient, effective, flexible, and responsive transit services for the entire community, including the elderly and those with disabilities.
Upon the notification, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres was assured that COTA has executed the award on the FTA database, completing the grant transfer to the CNMI government.
“I am very pleased to see the continuity of the development of public transit services. I commend [Camacho] for ensuring that the funding for this project would go toward the sustainability of the current demand and operations,” Torres said.
Camacho said the grant award covers the acquisition of another medium low-floor ADA accessible bus to add to the Fixed Route System, as well as surveillance systems for COTA’s fleet, a phone recording system for COTA’s One-Call/One-Click Center, and an overall computer system upgrade for the transportation tracking software for the required National Transit Database reports to FTA.
“The bid process for these systems will begin immediately and on behalf of the COTA team, we thank Governor Torres for his unending support and continuous assistance for this public transportation program,” Camacho said.
For more information on COTA, log onto their new website at http://cnmicota.wixsite.com/cota-mp. (PR)