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City council approves $7.9 million transportation center

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Rolling into the future, Greenville's City Council votes to move forward on a major project, a multi-million-dollar transportation and activity center. But the vote doesn't come without more questions.

One by one members of the audience lined up to show their support for a multi-million dollar transportation center.

"Because Greenville is the hub of the east, it makes sense for us to have a transportation center." "With a minimum building of two toilets, you don't have much." Speakers interjected.

At Monday’s city council meeting, designers asked the city to narrow down their choice from three options. The Greenville Transportation and Activity Center (GTAC) is a planned transportation transfer facility where local and regional transportation services will connect. The facility is planned to be located on the southwest corner of Pitt Street and Bonners Lane. The GTAC will serve as a transfer facility where local and regional transportation services will connect the Greenville Area Transit System (GREAT), Pitt Area Transit System (PATS), ECU Transit, and potentially Greyhound, will all utilize the facility for connections along with taxi service, the new Amtrack Bus Connector, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The facility may also accommodate airport, medical district, and hotel shuttles with future passenger rail service also a possibility nearby. 

This new facility is intended to replace the current transfer point located on Reade Street between Third and Fourth Streets.

A minimal, intermediate or full scale center, each comes with a different price tag and amenities. The minimal option starts at $5.5 million and reaches $7.9 million for the full scale project.

But with only two-fifths of the funds committed from the Federal Transit Administration and the city council members doubted the 3rd and most popular option.

"So it would be 2 Greyhound, 2 Amtrak buses, and the city of Greenville’s buses rotating---I think that's just a lot of money for that kind of activity." CouncilmembeCouncil membersaid.

The city put aside $615,000 for this project, the rest is suppose to come from the feds. Annual operating costs aren't calculated in those estimates, it could be $84,000 a year.

"We would have to find those funds from the general fund."  City Manger Barbara Lipscomb said.

The conversation didn’t stop the council from voting in favor of it. The council approved of it 5-1. Staff now plans to start acquiring some of the land for the center; they will also ask the FTA for the additional money needed. Since Greyhound hasn't committed to the project either, the team will ask the company if they still wish to participate. 

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