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Stimulus money used for new garage door

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A double-decker London-style bus can be fun, but that doesn’t mean it won’t cost you. In addition to its $850,000 purchase price, city transit managers spent $18,000 of federal stimulus money to alter a maintenance building garage door so the behemoth could fit inside.

“The project was actually larger in scope than just raising the header for the double-deck bus,” said Tim Bochum, deputy director of Public Works for San Luis Obispo. “It also included replacing the old doors, as well as installing new motors since they were previously manually lifted by chain pulley.”

The city hopes to use leftover stimulus money to build a new bus wash apparatus that would be tall enough to properly clean the double-decker.

The federal stimulus program is a legislative package aimed at helping to cap the national unemployment rate at eight percent and energize the economy. The national unemployment rate is just under 10 percent.

Much of the stimulus funding was used by cities and counties to fund programs they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. For example, the city also allocated $625,000 in stimulus funds earlier this year to install upgraded “mission style” sidewalks in upper Monterey Street.

According to recovery.gov, the federal stimulus tracking website, the city received $68,600 to “include Transit facility improvements to equipment such as the existing bus wash, signs, parking lot, office furniture, computers, computer server lines and monitors, and installation of new equipment such as modifying maintenance bay height, new overhead doors, installing fiber optic lines, new overhead doors, security system including cameras, alarms, etc.”

This was part of a $1,023,660 stimulus grant that also included $400,000 for new electronic fare boxes, $405,000 for automatic vehicle locaters, and $150,000 for preventive maintenance. The recovery.gov website claims this grant created 40 jobs.

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