Federal money helps PVTA serve STCC students

By Nate Luscombe

Staff Writer

SPRINGFIELD Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received federal help in getting students to their campus. Congressman Richard E. Neal announced during a visit to STCC last week that appropriations totaling $700,000 were given to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) to help improve transportation for students.

The money will allow more people to travel to the college and use the services, Neal said.

PVTA administrator Gary Shepard called the money exciting for the students.

"Public transit saves gas, and wear and tear on the roads," Shepard said, adding that the program to be developed for STCC, will be similar to programs PVTA has developed for UMass-Amherst, Holyoke Community College, and Westfield State College. Buses for the program would be devoted entirely to STCC students, Shepard said.

The program could include express buses from parking lots off the STCC campus, a "Park and Ride" program, which would also help alleviate a major parking crunch on the campus, said STCC president Ira Rubenzahl.

Currently, STCC students are eligible to receive free bus passes that have been purchased by STCC from PVTA.

STCC does not have residence halls for any of their 6,000 students. The new federal funding will also make a dedicated bus that complies with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements.

"We are grateful to Congressman Neal for providing this generous assistance from the federal government," Rubenzahl said. "We look forward to working closely with Gary Shepard and his staff at PVTA in planning and instituting creative measures that will assist our thousands of students as well as the city of Springfield...This initiative will allow us to better serve out students."

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