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Transit sees investment, ridership increase

An influx of federal dollars comes on the heels of the busiest year yet for Triangle Transit.

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Transit in North Carolina is seeing more riders and greater investment.

Ray LaHood, U.S. secretary of transportation, announced an investment Wednesday of $25 million in federal stimulus funds to be used to upgrade transit vehicles and facilities across the state.

The windfall comes as ridership on transit in the Triangle is at an all-time high. Triangle Transit served more than 1 million trips in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the organization said Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has pumped more than $48 billion into highway, road, transit, bridge and airport construction and repairs nationwide since President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February.

The latest installment will allow the North Carolina Department of Transportation to pay for 141 vehicles, including buses and vans, and for shelters and facility renovations throughout the state.

Triangle Transit released its annual ridership report Wednesday, showing an increase of 19.4 percent from fiscal 2007-08. General manager David King noted that high gas prices in the second half of 2008 pushed some riders to try transit.

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