The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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May 3, 2013

Ground broken for $20 million transit nerve center

JOHNSTOWN — The new $20 million transit nerve center along Maple Avenue will have CamTran’s logo over the door, but the facility represents a wide gamut of government, business and community entities, leaders said Friday during groundbreaking ceremonies.

“This is a thing where everybody had to pitch in,” said Monsignor Raymond Balta, Johnstown Redevelopment Authority chairman.

“I think you are going to be proud of this facility. I think you are going to be proud of what we can do when we work together.”

The redevelopment authority was instrumental in leveraging state funds to clean up the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. property, CamTran Executive Director Rose Lucey-Noll said.

“There truly has been participation by federal, state and local government and agencies,” Lucey-Noll said.

Speakers representing all levels of government participated in the groundbreaking program. As if to demonstrate the importance of transportation, their remarks were frequently drowned out by passing trucks or locomotives on the nearby Norfolk and Southern rail line.

Although site work will be starting soon, CamTran is still finalizing several contracts after specifications were tweaked to trim expenses and new bids were solicited, said Ed Cernic Jr., chairman of Cambria County Transit Authority.

“We were looking for $2 million in savings,” Cernic said. “I think we realized about $2.5 million so far.”

Completion is anticipated for late 2014.

Several items on the initial plans have been put off. Those include solar panels to help with energy costs and a natural gas refueling station.

Those items may still be coming, said Toby Fauver, PennDOT deputy secretary for local and area transportation.

“We are still confident that everything is going to be constructed in one cycle,” Fauver said at the ceremony. “There are some funding gaps. The overall project came in a little over budget. We repackaged some of the bid work by taking some of the risk out of it for contractors.”

About 100 construction jobs will be created for the facility, which will serve as CamTran’s administrative, maintenance and urban operations center. CamTran employs 123 people, Lucey-Noll said.

The new facility will replace the century-old trolley barns on Central Avenue in the Moxham section of Johnstown. That facility is split by Bond Street, requiring buses to make multiple trips around the complex each week.

“That facility was built when horses pulled the trolleys,” 

said state Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, adding that the new complex demonstrates CamTran’s commitment to the future.

“This is part of the restoration, the reinventing of Johns-town,” Wozniak said.

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