U.S. Secretary of Transportation views projects in downtown Kent positively

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood visited PARTA’s new Kent Central Gateway transit center in downtown Kent on Friday, deeming it a “shining example of success of the Stimulus Act.”

LaHood last visited Kent in July 2010 to tour Acorn Alley and the site for the Kent Central Gateway. LaHood thanked construction workers on site during the tour. LaHood, along with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Mayor Jerry Fiala and PARTA General Manager John Drew toured the building to view its progress.

Brian Trautman, Kent Central Gateway director of maintenance and operations, said the Kent Central Gateway will host 10 transit bus bays; several bicycle amenities; and potential retail, restaurant and office space along Erie Street. He said buses will transport passengers to Akron for $1 each way and from Kent to Cleveland for $5 each way.

“We’re reconstructing [PARTA] routes to connect downtown [Cleveland] and the city of Kent,” Trautman said. “It’s going to be a good hub between Kent State and downtown [Cleveland].”

Joint efforts from the city of Kent, PARTA, Kent State and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan helped PARTA’s Kent Central Gateway earn the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program. The grant awarded $20 million to the project.

LaHood said the U.S. Department of Transportation chose to award Kent the TIGER Grant out of 1,400 applications because of the leadership and vision for the project in the Kent community

After the tour, LaHood, along with Ryan and Drew, spoke on behalf of the Kent Central Gateway’s economic contribution to the city.

“Don’t tell us things can’t change,” Ryan said. “Don’t tell us if good people get together and work together honestly, with the spirit of cooperation, that you can’t make great things happen.”

LaHood said the Kent Central Gateway is proof that the stimulus worked and that the project created a lot of jobs for the Kent community. LaHood said the new Kent Central Gateway can also act as a model for other towns in the U.S.

“I think it’s beneficial to Kent State because of the connectivity,” LaHood said. “This is really about connecting the community and connecting the students with the community and downtown.”

Contact Arielle Campanalie at [email protected] .


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Contact Monique Zappa at [email protected].