Transportation Secretary LaHood visits Kent

Kyle Reynolds

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to Kent Friday to sign a $20 million grant for the $26-million Kent Central Gateway Project.

The grant, which is being used as a part of Kent’s extensive economic revitalization plans, will fund the Kent Central Gateway project which will serve as a multimodal transit center. The grant was awarded as part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, which was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Congressman Tim Ryan said the project is a result of collaboration between PARTA, Kent State, the Ohio Department of Transportation as well as the federal government.

“If we are going to achieve great things in this country it’s going to be by working together,” Ryan said.

When completed the facility will include a bus transfer facility, bicycle storage area, parking deck, retail space and indoor and outdoor waiting areas.

Eric Czetli, ODOT District Four Deputy Director, described the facility as “a one stop shop for virtually every mode of travel”.

The facility will also be a green facility, utilizing solar panels and geothermal technology, said Sen. Sherrod Brown.

The facility is expected to generate 700 permanent jobs and 250 from its construction.

Currently there are more than 13,000 transportation projects funded by the stimulus are underway, said LaHood.

“Here in Ohio roughly 7,000 construction workers are on the job full time building roads, tunnels, bridges, airports, rail systems and more,” LaHood said. “Since the stimulus effort began Ohio’s construction workers and laborers have brought home over $40 million in paychecks.”