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|City to improve Monroe bus stops|
Monroe Transit is in line to receive a $400,000 federal grant to help make existing bus stops more handicap accessible.
Monroe Transit general manager Valerie McElhose said while there is a local match to obtain the federal funding, it could be waived, meaning Monroe wouldn't need to provide any funding to receive the grant.
If the local match portion is not waived, she expects the city would have to pay up to 10 percent or 20 percent in order to receive the federal funding.
She said the Federal Transportation Administration awarded the state the funding, but the state didn't have any projects available to utilize the money.
McElhose learned of the funding and applied for the grant, which was recently approved for Monroe Transit.
Monroe Transit officials must determine which bus stops would be improved with the grant funding, but McElhose already knows of several that qualify.
Some of those are located on Louisville Avenue.
"One is along Louisville in front of Wal-Mart where people get off that bus to go to Wal-Mart," McElhose said. "Right now, if you look, there is a path were people roll their wheelchairs in the grass. There's another at Piccadilly that goes down in a ditch and goes back up. We would level that out and make it a flat surface so someone in a wheelchair could get through there."
Monroe Transit officials have not determined how many bus stops could be improved with the funding
"The funding was so quick, and it was going to lapse, so I just took pictures and described each one, but now I have to go back and get some quotes," McElhose said. "We will do as many as we can with the funding that's there."
Monroe Transit expects the projects to upgrade bus stops could begin in the next several months.
"We expect people will begin to see some activity in the next three or four months," she said.
The city of Monroe also is in line to receive funding from the state Department of Transportation and Development Enhancement Grant Program to bury power lines and add sidewalks along a host of streets in downtown Monroe.
A majority of those sidewalks would be added along Louisville Avenue, so McElhose said she will coordinate the bus stops on Louisville Avenue around that plan.