Chandler residents may get lucky and score some mass transit funding for next year because more people took a chance on Powerball last year.
The city has applied for $255,000 from a transportation fund that kicks in when Powerball revenue exceeds a certain amount, said Chandler Transportation Services and Planning manager Mike Normand. The state’s General Fund claims 31.6 percent of Powerball earnings with a $31 million cap, with the difference between the cap and the full 31.6 percent going to transit funding, said Arizona Lottery Communications director Kevan Kaighn.
Revenue for fiscal 2002-03 were $112.5 million, leaving nearly $6 million for mass transit, Kaighn said.
Deputy executive director of Valley Metro Bryan Jungwirth, said he was pleased the extra money is available. His group distributes the Local Transportation Assistance Funds in Maricopa County.
"We thought we’d never see these funds again, but Powerball did so well this year that there was money left over for statewide transportation," Jungwirth said. "The future of the program is highly suspect because it’s dependent on the Powerball funds. We just have to keep crossing our fingers that Powerball does well in the future."
Normand said the funds must be used for transportation projects, such as replacing vehicles used by the East Valley Dial-A-Ride.
"We’re due to replace 35 vans next year and that’s not just Chandler, but Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert as well," Normand said. "Each of those cities has to contribute to those replacements based on the ridership from each city. In Chandler, that’s about 10 percent, so we’ll contribute about 10 percent of the cost for the vans."
Chandler Public Works director Bryan Patterson said some of the funds would be used to build 10 additional bus pullouts along Chandler streets and some money would help construct a transit center on the south side of Chandler Fashion Center.
Normand said the transit center, which would include benches, two bus shelters, landscaping and a newsstand, has been designed and is expected to cost $600,000.
He said most of those funds have been saved from past grant dollars and Powerball funds will contribute to making the project a reality.
Normand said the city hopes to begin construction by late January. Normand said the grant funds will allow capital improvement project funds already set aside to be redirected.