VIAtrans vehicles serve San Antonio's disabled population. Credit: Courtesy / VIA Metropolitan Transit

VIA Metropolitan Transit will receive $6 million from a federal grant program for buses and bus facilities and use it to build a new transportation center for people with disabilities, a VIA spokeswoman said Monday.

VIA currently operates all buses and vans out of a centralized site located at the block of Flores Street, Myrtle Street, San Pedro Avenue, and Laurel Street. The new facility will be dedicated to VIA’s disability transportation options, known as paratransit.

VIA was notified of the award on Thursday, said VIA spokeswoman Lorraine Pulido.

The new facility will feature parking for 175 vans, a maintenance facility, administrative offices, security features, and will comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Pulido said. VIA is looking at the area of Fredricksburg and Interstate 410 to build the new facility, she added.

“Having paratransit operating and maintenance functions in one location will greatly improve VIA’s operational efficiencies by allowing for expansion of the existing bus yard to accommodate additional fleets, as our region experiences approximately 150 people moving in each day,” Pulido told the Rivard Report in an email.

VIA President and CEO Jeffrey Arndt said the company’s fastest-growing portion of riders use paratransit.

“We are grateful to our partners, and elected leaders, whose shared vision and support are driving VIA’s commitment to innovation and a more mobile future,” Arndt said in a news release Tuesday.

VIA offers VIAtrans services for people whose disabilities prevent them from using regular bus service.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a press release that Texans need infrastructure to keep up with the increasing demands of a “mobile society.”

“Thanks to this grant, the VIA Metropolitan Transit system will be more efficient and ultimately safer for those traveling through San Antonio,” Cornyn said in a news release Monday. “I’m proud to have supported this funding in the Senate and grateful to the Trump Administration for supporting Texans traveling in and around Bexar County.”

In August, VIA received $2 million in federal funding to purchase electric-powered buses.

Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is the local government reporter at the San Antonio Report.