Grant funds Ashland park-and-ride lot

Seven years after the idea was first broached, Rogue Valley Transit District has received federal funding in its pursuit to build a park-and-ride lot north of Ashland.

The $241,500 grant from the Federal Transit Administration is earmarked for development of a 25-car park-and-ride lot at the intersection of state Highway 99 and Valley View Road.

If all goes well from this point, the lot should be completed by the end of 2009, RVTD General Manager Julie Brown said.

"We've been expecting this money, it's been in our budget and we've been trying to move this project forward," she said.

However, there are plenty of variables and unknowns, such as property acquisition, before the lengthy project will be completed.

"Federal transit money is a little funny," said Paige Townsend, RVTD's senior planner. "Often, what you do is submit a project idea. If you're lucky you receive a grant and that money lets you flesh out the details."

The proposal was pitched to the Transportation Department as a way to reduce vehicle traffic in downtown Ashland.

"It's been a pretty long-term project and we're happy to know funds are available," Townsend said. "We have pin-pointed the location, but haven't designated the specific spot. This allows us to do the design and engineering and finalizing those plans. We'll hire a consultant to go through the land review process."

In addition to its downtown Medford transfer station, Brown said RVTD has park-and-ride lots at the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics in White City, Cascade Shopping Center in White City, Jacksonville and Talent.

Brown also learned Thursday it has received $1.7 million in operating funds from the Transportation Department. Those dollars usually are available in October.

"With fuel prices going up everybody had the same cash-flow issues," Brown said. "But we had already budgeted for it when we adopted our budget in June."

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