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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Federal grant will upgrade SD rural transit system

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024   

The Biden administration announced nearly $8 million in grants to improve public transportation, including a large and rural system in South Dakota, connecting people to critical services.

Prairie Hills Transit covers roughly the western third of the state and riders clock about 180,000 trips per year. It is receiving nearly $270,000 through a Federal Transit Administration pilot program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to improve transit for people with disabilities, older adults and low-income individuals.

Lisa Johnson, deputy director of Prairie Hills Transit, said the organization will use the funds to purchase a contactless payment system for riders, an upgrade from the wood tokens the system uses now.

"By going to a contactless payment technology, we're hoping to streamline it to improve the reliability of the rider's experience," Johnson explained. "They can manage their fare card and have an ongoing history of what they're paying."

Johnson noted it will streamline operations for the transit system, negating the need to manage tokens and cash checks from riders. The system sees a wide range of ridership, she added, including low-income people, people with disabilities, seniors, veterans and youth.

The new system will include an updated website to help riders plan trips in advance. Johnson noted in an area with scattered small communities, people use public transit to go back and forth between them.

"We have five communities that are within a 20-mile radius," Johnson pointed out. "I'm hoping to link those communities in a more efficient and timely manner."

Johnson emphasized Prairie Hills Transit plans to roll out its new system in about a year.


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