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Grant to help pay for buses

With ridership expected to climb past 1 million this year, the Oxford University Transit system is giving the buses in its fleet a real workout.

Thanks to an intermodal transportation grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Oxford will receive two new buses without spending a dime.

On Monday, the Mississippi Transportation Commission approved MDOT’s grant awards to several public transit authorities across the state for maintenance and improvement projects. OUT was awarded $26,277 for two, 25-passenger ADA accessible buses.

The city received an earlier grant toward the purchase of the two new buses that would total about $100,000. MDOT will pay 80 percent of the buses. The city and university would have had to pay a 20 percent share; however the new grant will cover that cost.

“We’re replacing two of our buses,” OUT Manager Ron Biggs said. “Their useful life is up.”

The cut-off buses will be placed on the less busy routes since they’re just 25 seats.

MDOT’s responsibilities include maintaining and improving the state’s highways and interstates, but also focus on providing a safe intermodal transportation network for airports, ports and waterways, railroads and public transit.

“Mississippi’s public transit system is the main source of transportation for many of our citizens,” said Transportation Commissioners Dick Hall, Tom King and Mike Tagert in a joint statement by the MTC. “People are our greatest commodity, and these grants will help make needed improvements that will continue to support local economic growth and development.”