Jonesboro committee discusses federal funding from CARES Act to JET

Jonesboro committee discusses federal funding from CARES Act to JET

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Finance and Administration committee sent a resolution to the full city council Tuesday night that would give over $3.2 million to Jonesboro Economical Transit.

According to the Federal Transit Administration, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act provided $25 billion to transit agencies to help prevent, prepare, and respond to COVID-19.

Jonesboro received $3,277,057 in funding to go to JET.

The money cannot be used to fund any other departments in the city.

JET Director Michael Black said the money can be used for things like operations, capital improvements, para-transit, and planning.

While there is no breakdown on how the money will be spent yet, Black said he would plan to use the money for operation and para-transit.

One question asked was if the money could be used to improve sidewalk infrastructure.

Black said the city can use the federal dollars with an 80/20 match to put in sidewalks within 0.75 miles of a bus stop.

Other questions asked included whether the money could be used for other issues, including expanding bus stops and putting up a shelter at the stops.

Mayor Harold Perrin said the city is waiting for paperwork from the government on exactly how the money can be spent.

From that, he asked Black to develop a master plan for JET on what is important and how that money should be spent.

“Is it more sidewalks? Is it enlarging the bus stops? Is it increasing more bus stops themselves? Do we do more on capital improvements? There are a lot of things to take into consideration there,” Perrin said.

Committee Chairman Joe Hafner said this resolution is to accept the funding, which is the first step.

The resolution was forwarded to the full city council for them to decide whether or not to accept the money.

Mayor Perrin added that Jonesboro received the second-highest amount of money in the state. He said the increase was due to Conway opting out of their transit system.

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