CLEARWATER, Fla. — A new transit center in Clearwater just took another step towards being constructed.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority was awarded $20 million in federal grants on Wednesday to build the new Clearwater transit center.
As part of the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program, the funds will help cover some of the costs to take downtown riders to beaches and other locations across the Pinellas County area, PSTA said in a news release.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled that a new Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority transit hub is coming to downtown Clearwater,” U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist said in a statement. “Throughout my years as Representative of the people of Pinellas, I’ve proudly supported the modernization and expansion of PSTA. With the new SunRunner project launching this fall in St. Pete, and electric buses hitting the road in Clearwater, this transit center will serve as a nexus for a truly interconnected Pinellas.
"From the Gulf to the Bay, PSTA isn’t hitting the brakes any time soon!”
The new transit center will be built on a city-owned vacant lot at the corner of Court Street and Myrtle Avenue. It will also feature 16 bus bays, bicycle and scooter storage, ride-sharing connections, ADA boarding requirements and an environment-friendly design that includes solar panels and electric bus charging stations.
“This couldn’t be a more exciting day for not only Pinellas County and PSTA, but throughout the entire region, on receiving this federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation,” Brad Miller, Chief Executive Officer of PSTA, said in a statement. “These funds will help replace a 40-year-old over-capacity existing structure with a new state-of-the-art sustainable transit center that will benefit the community, economy and our environment.”
PTSA says the new transit center will be a major upgrade from a 40-year-old station at Park Street that doesn't have the capacity to serve 14 different routes and 2,3000 riders each weekday. Some bus operators have been forced to pick up and drop off passengers on side streets and the newer all-electric buses would have not been able to fit under their old, leaky roofs.
“After years of trying to get the funds to replace the old Park Street terminal, this new transportation hub will be an absolute game-changer,” Pat Gerard, Chair of the PSTA Board of Directors, said in a statement. “This will make it easier for people to reach Clearwater, and our beautiful beaches. It’s a big win for our community, local business and future redevelopment plans.”
The city of Clearwater, Florida Department of Transportation, Forward Pinellas and PSTA will fund the remainder of the project that cannot be covered in federal grants.
Construction to build the new transit center is scheduled to begin in 2023.