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The COMET is eying infrastructure bill funding after senate passage

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 7:33 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Roads, bridges, and the future of transportation of the Midlands are on the table after the U.S. Senate passed the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package earlier this week.

It includes $550 million in new spending. That includes among other projects:

  • $110 billion for roads, bridges, and transportation projects
  • $39 billion for public transit
  • $7.5 billion for electrifying vehicles (including buses and ferries)

The COMET has worked toward electrifying its fleet and Director of Marketing & Community Affairs/Public Information Officer Pamela Bynoe-Reed said additional federal funds would help in that effort.

“There’s so many immediate needs that we would like to fill. In order to transport people, you need reliable vehicles, you need vehicles that are not aging or breaking down frequently,” she said.

She said newer vehicles and smoother roads would help drive down maintenance costs, allowing taxpayer and ratepayer funds to go further with the transit authority.

Additionally, she said federal funds could be used for a multi-modal center, allowing travelers to go to one location for different forms of transportation.

“Greyhound and Megabus, taxi’s, rideshare programs. I think that would be a boon for the Midlands and really move us forward light-years,” she said.

The COMET system transports an estimated 2.8 million passengers a year, including Mary Fuller. She spoke with WIS about the importance of public transportation.

“Yeah, the bus is very important to everybody. Some people can’t afford cars, some people can’t afford transportation. If you can afford a car, and your car breaks down, you still have a way to get to work, and go anywhere you want to go,” she said.

Fuller said she would like to see improved roads as well.

The package still needs to be approved by the U.S. House and signed by President Biden before becoming law.

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