Friday morning, Turlock officials and other community members gathered at the newly opened Turlock Regional Transit Center for a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony. The long-awaited transit hub will be running in full operation starting Wednesday, August 29th.
Mayor John Lazar opened the ceremony, after being introduced by City Manager Roy Wasden, and shared with the audience some facts about the importance of public transportation.
“In 2011, Americans took 10.2 billion trips on public transportation,” Lazar stated. “Public transportation is a $54 billion industry in the United States that employs more than 400,000 people.”
Lazar focused on the more important fact; however, that public transportation provides economic opportunity and jobs to the communities they serve. Lazar stated that according to the American Transit Association, every $1 that is invested into public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic return. Every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports or generates approximately 46,000 jobs.
“Public transportation not only gets people to work, but it puts people to work,” stated Lazar. “Our community in Turlock is a jewel in the Central Valley and the Regional Transportation center serves as a quality project to add to the long list of projects that sets us apart in the Central Valley. It is truly another jewel in Turlock’s crown.”
Other community officials that were in attendance at the opening ceremony included Councilwomen Mary Jackson and Amy Bublak, Councilman Forest White, City Attorney Phaedra Norton, Development Services Director Mike Pitcock, Assistant City Manager Maryn Pitt, Police Chief Rob Jackson, Fire Chief Tim Lohman, Regulatory Affairs Manager Michael Cooke, Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa, Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Sharon Silva, representatives from StanCOG, and many others.
“It is truly amazing what is being done here,” stated Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa. “The grand opening of this Regional Transit Center shows the hard work and dedication of your Mayor and City Council, your City Manager, and the able-bodied staff who worked very diligently on this, because it is amazing.”
Since the opening of the new Turlock Regional Transit Center, there are now only two regional transit centers in all of Stanislaus County, the other one being in the City of Modesto.
“Every person that rides some form of mass transit, whether the buses or even the Amtrak system, is one vehicle which is off the road which will relieve congestion,” stated Chiesa. “Congestion wasn’t a problem around here 20 or 30 years ago but quickly it is becoming an issue.”
Both Lazar and Chiesa mentioned how the Turlock Regional Transit Center will also help lessen the environmental impact, as well as help improve the air quality, of the City of Turlock by reducing the carbon footprint left behind due to carbon gas emissions from personal vehicles.
Development Services Director Mike Pitcock added that there would be a nearby Taxi stand off of Dels Lane, right next to the Turlock Regional Transit Center.
The new Turlock bus hub includes six bus shelters with benches, a bike rack, lighting, and a parking area, along with landscaping and an outdoor clock.
Pitcock reported that the total cost of the project was approximately $1.65 million, which was funded by Federal Stimulus Money, and did not use any monies from the City’s General Fund.
The Turlock Regional Transit Center will not only serve Turlock’s bus system, but also the Stanislaus County and Merced County bus systems.