After 10 years, Janesville breaks ground on transit center

Katherine Krueger

July 10, 2013

JANESVILLE

“Finally” was the common refrain among city officials as they broke ground on the Janesville Transit Services Center Wednesday, a project that has been in the works for nearly 10 years.

Four different city councils have deliberated on the project, and none of the members who approved the project were on the council when it was first discussed. Nineteen different sites were considered for the facility. The original plans were scaled back due to budget concerns.

“It has been a long journey,” Transit Director Dave Mumma said at the ceremony.

The project dates back to 2004, when Mumma brought plans to renovate the existing building to city budget talks. Officials wanted to pave the way for the future of Janesville’s public transportation system, a plan that involved a new transit center to provide room to grow, he said.

Mumma said this new facility will serve the city and surrounding region’s transportation needs for the next 50 years. It will cost $7.95 million to construct, with $6.64 million provided by three separate Federal Transit Administration grants. The city will pay the remaining $1.3 million.

Construction begins Monday and will take about a year.

To stay under budget, he said planners used “value engineering” to use materials that serve the same purpose but cost less. The aesthetics of the building were a sticking point in the stages before the council’s final approval in October. City planners contended the facility’s appearance was important because it is highly visible on the corner of Black Bridge Road and Parker Drive. Critics said the plan allowed for too many luxuries that went beyond budget.

The building will be 9,000-square feet less than the original plan brought before the council in 2010, most of which is reduced storage for buses. Mumma said the “heart of the building,” administrative offices, meeting rooms and training areas were maintained in the final plans.

The facility is also designed for it to be relatively inexpensive to expand the bus storage area as the city’s bus fleet grows, he said.

He also said the culmination of 10 years of work on the project is a “tremendous accomplishment and a tremendous relief.”

At the ground breaking, Marisol Simon, the regional administrator with the Federal Transit Administration, praised the project as a successful partnership between the community and federal government.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/article/20130710/ARTICLES/130719980#sthash.Tl7w20i7.dpuf