Amarillo City Transit (ACT) spent a significant amount of time responding to the impacts of COVID-19. ACT was awarded $9.8 million dollars through the CARES Act grant to cover transit operations from February 2020 through September 2021. The grant enables ACT to provide special services in coordination with Public Health and Community Development to individuals without transportation to get to COVID-19 testing and isolation when necessary.
It also allowed transit to take on additional staffing and purchase electrostatic cleaning equipment in support of our heightened cleaning and disinfecting efforts. CARES Act funds will also allow the department to continue to increase service reliability with the purchase of 10 new Paratransit vehicles for people with disabilities and rebrand the remaining fleet with the new logo and paint scheme.
ACT staff has been busy with other projects including taking delivery of six new low floor, double door, ramp accessible fixed route transit buses and secured funding for the purchase of four additional vehicles to be on the street in early 2022. In September, the City awarded a contract to be completed in early 2021 for 13 new bus shelters that include the installation of accessible sidewalks. The OneRide phone application was introduced on October 1 which allows citizens to access real time bus arrival data. ACT has secured funding for a new Multimodal Transfer Terminal (a new city-wide bus station) and is moving forward on the design and construction.
Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport
At the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in the last 12 months the entire airfield lighting system was replaced, including a new lighting vault (building). Internal information technology systems were replaced/upgraded including the closed circuit TV security system, the primary access control system computers, and network backbone equipment. But, as COVID-19 hit, passenger enplanements dropped from the usual 1,000 per day to an average of 50 per day in late March and early April 2020. Recovery remains slow but is on-track with conservative estimates and current passenger traffic is just over 50% of normal.
The airport took full advantage of the record low passenger traffic by replacing all of the parking garage lighting within a 30-day period. Furthermore, with the FAA providing a $7.6 million dollar grant as part of the federal CARES Act, the airport was able to maintain operations during the middle part of 2020 at typical levels and continued with federally funded projects, including the upcoming replacement of two taxiways that were recommended for replacement in the airport’s 2019 master plan. Presently, the airport remains fully operational and is looking forward to more normal air traffic levels in 2021.