Huntington Town's bus system is getting an upgrade.
The town board has agreed to accept a federal and state grant to cover a portion of the $430,000 cost to replace three paratransit buses and add a new paratransit bus to the Huntington Area Rapid Transit fleet, board member Joan Cergol said.
Some of the grant money will also go toward replacement battery packs for the town’s three hybrid-fuel HART buses. The hybrid battery packs have an estimated six-year shelf life and are approaching the time to buy new ones, town officials said.
“We have noted a steady increase in the town’s aging and disabled populations over the last decade based on increasing demand of the paratransit program,” said Cergol, who co-sponsored a resolution related with board member Mark Cuthbertson. “Last year, the town provided 49,000 paratransit rides helping these populations get to their doctor and physical therapy appointments, the town’s nutrition program, and to stores for groceries and other needed items.”
The additions will bring the town's paratransit fleet up to a total of 16 buses in service, Cergol said.
HART is a fare-based bus service that serves Huntington Town on a fixed route and is the only town-operated bus system on Long Island. In additon to the paratransit buses, it operates about 26 regular buses.
The Federal Transit Administration will reimburse the town $344,000 with the state Department of Transportation paying $43,000. The town will pay the remaining $43,000 cost out of its General Fund, town officials said. The town is required to provide a local share of the cost in order to receive the federal money, town documents show.
“Whatever we can do to better our transportation program is a big win for a our residents,” Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the number of additional paratransit buses.