WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A new 28,000 square foot building will soon house many transportation offices and vehicle fleets.
Wichita Falls officials broke ground on the future public transportation administrative and maintenance repair facility Wednesday.
About 60 to 70 vehicles at a time will occupy the nearly 7-acre land.
“It’ll be a one-stop-shop for transportation needs,” Wichita Falls public transportation administrator Jenny Stevens said. “We will have all of Falls Rides fleet as well as SHARP lines fleet, the DAV will have their vehicles that they utilize to take people to the VA in Oklahoma City and Lawton.”
Stevens said the new facility that will house the Wichita Falls Transit System, “Falls Ride”, SHARP Lines Rural Transportation, the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Chapter 41 DAV offices is necessary.
“Right now SHARP lines has their own area, the DAV is with SHARP lines and then we have our own area and the coordination between us has not been the greatest because we’re not able to adequately coordinate,” Stevens said.
Besides the fleets, one part of this bridge to better coordination is a new office for the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“I foresee that we’ll be having a lot of meetings here in this facility,” Metropolitan Planning Organization director Lin Barnett said.
Meetings like the ones meant to make and update the 2020-2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan that was approved Wednesday.
It identifies projects and policies to be completed over the next 25 years
“We start looking at things for example like your hike and bike trails so if there’s tangents we start looking at things that are identified on the TxDOT Onsystem project list,” Barnett said.
It’s mostly a matter of moving, but new opportunities could come along with the new space.
“There is a potential for new jobs, SHARP lines will have their own mechanic so there’s that opening,” Stevens said.
With broken ground, transportation officials are now ready to see something built from the ground up.
The City of Wichita Falls received a total of $9.9 million in grants from both TxDOT and the Federal Transit Administration to build the facility, with the total cost about $10.3 million.
Construction is expected to take 16 months and be completed in June 2021.