Heart of Danville's Julie Wagner, who helped write the grant application, said it now appears that the FTA's approval is going to be more about public transportation than parking.
She remains optimistic that the city will receive the FTA's approval.
It means close deadlines and a lot more rewriting for the city and the Heart, but the BUS is good news to Dan Eary.
BUS already operates in Danville
He and his family rely on their feet, family and friends to get around town. A bus, Eary said, would help a lot of people in town, especially since the grocery store downtown closed. Taxis can get expensive, and so when the Earys want to shop for groceries or go to Wal-Mart, they have to call somebody for a ride.
The BUS already operates in Danville, and anyone can ride it. Right now, though, they have to make a reservation 72 hours in advance. About 100 people in Boyle County took 19,423 one-way trips in the BUS last fiscal year.
BUS plans to start a route when its home in the parking garage is complete. Wagner said the flexible route might last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day and run to the grocery, Wal-Mart and other areas of town.
It hasn't been decided if the BUS would pick up people at stops or at the station.
Now it costs $1 per person per mile with a $3 minimum, far less than what Eary pays for a taxi. The price for catching the bus when it runs its route could be less, according to Sue Jeffers, who oversees the BUS's operations for the Bluegrass Community Action Agency.
Jeffers wrote the original grant application for the garage. She said once the garage is built, the agency will figure out what the people in town need from the bus. It would be remiss to do it now, she said, because the community's needs may change by the time the parking garage is built.
BUS has an office on South Fourth Street, but Jeffers said the location in the garage, across from the hospital, will make more people aware of the service.
Agency wants to serve areas of need
The station will have a television, coffee pot and snack machine.
Jeffers said her agency wants to serve the public housing areas, elderly corridors and other parts of town where people need transportation.
The BUS has changed senior citizen JoAnn Smith's life. It picks her up five days a week to bring her to the Danville-Boyle County senior citizens center.
"It's better to come here and meet people than look at the walls," she said.
Sometimes she takes the BUS to the doctor's office.
Smith doesn't drive and if she didn't have the ride she said she wouldn't have anyway to get around.
By Wagner's estimate, the city needs to get a final word from the FTA by Aug. 1, so there can be a public comment period. The entire process has to be finished by Oct. 1 or the city will lose the grant funds.
Carries price tag of $5.8 million
Members of Third Street Development Corp. have said that the parking garage is important to the renovation and development of the Hub-Gilcher buildings at the corner of Main and Third streets.
The Hub already houses the Hub Coffeehouse and Cafe and Centre College bookstore on the ground floor. The upper floors are being renovated for office space. The Gilcher is being torn down, except for the front facade, and a surgery center, Central Kentucky Surgery Center, will be built there.
Already the city has accepted a check from the state for $650,000 that will help pay for the parking garage. The garage carries an estimated price tag of $5.8 million.